Finding a great niche business is all about recognising gaps in the market – any market – and finding a way to fill them, writes digital marketing consultant and Business Advice contributor, Gareth Simpson.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to offer the best of everything – the best coffee, the best homeware, the best beauty products.
The fact is, you need an edge. It’s much harder to succeed at selling a broad range of products than it is to sell within a specialism, where the real interest lies.
Finding a good niche business comes with knowing your USP – what can you offer that no-one else does?
Once you know where you belong, you’ll see more clearly where you need to focus your efforts. Discover your niche business and make a real difference in that area.
Be bold and follow your passion
It takes a certain type of person to start their own business, so chances are you’re already open to taking risks. When you’re nailing down your niche business, you need to be bold enough to trust your instincts, despite early cries of pessimism.
Passion for your field is crucial – you will find it much easier to run a business that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. It doesn’t matter how obscure – in fact the more obscure the better.
If you’re obsessed with puppet-making, bone carving or Wizard of Oz collectibles, for example, then feed that obsession and make a business out of it. Better this way, than to choose something purely because you think it’ll make money.
In the early stages, just play around with ideas. Think about what would make you excited to get up and work on every day. Find a niche that you love, and you will likely put more time and energy into it without even trying.
Growing a business is a long-haul operation, and you don’t want to tire of it a couple of months down the line.
Know your market better than anyone
Before you get too far down the line with any niche business, make sure you’ve done your market research – and thoroughly. You don’t want to find that your niche has been left unfulfilled for a reason.
Start by identifying your target demographic and what they’re looking for. It’s best to do this yourself if you can – or if you’re short on time you can always hire a market researcher to do the donkey work for you. It always helps if you have some prior knowledge of the field you’re getting into.
- Make learning a habit
Industries are constantly evolving, and the most successful small businesses observe those changes and embrace them. Knowledge is power and key to staying competitive.
- Listen to your audience
The best way to uncover unmet needs is to engage with the people who have them. Follow discussions, create surveys and frequent interest groups to learn more about what your target market wants.
- Look into trends and regulations
It’s good to be aware of any potentially unhelpful legislation before it has a chance to affect you. Likewise, staying abreast of national and international trends in your industry could help you predict upcoming buying patterns.
Part of knowing your market is also being aware of your competition. Be sure to make a list of all your direct industry competitors, and get a sense of how competitive your niche is. Then ask yourself – how will your niche business stand out from the competition?
Read on to find out ways to ensure your niche business is profitable
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