One of the lessons that startup businesses must learn is that they cannot be all things to all people. Discovering your niche market will help your startup business thrive. Jason McLaughlan, the owner of Western Fence Co. in Utah, explains how your startup can thrive in its niche and enjoy amazing success.
What is a Niche Market?
Niche marketing means reaching for a certain subset of the buying public. This will enable you to target your efforts on this slice of the population. Whether you have a retail or service business, it is vital to define your niche.
For example, if you decide that your niche market is serious runners, you may want to open a small store with the best selection of running shoes and other equipment. You will want to make sure that all of your employees are highly trained and that they can answer all of the customer’s questions. This will present a major advantage over a big box sporting goods store, where they may have a good range of products but can’t adequately support them.
How to Choose Your Niche
It has been said that in order to choose your niche, you should follow your passions. Choose your niche based on what you would be doing on your own time. Devotion to a certain segment of the market will show in your work. If you are an avid hiker and camper, opening a camping equipment store is a great choice. Make sure that your business includes special services that a larger company would not be able to provide. Equipment rentals, classes, and personalized shopping services would be great additions to your line of business.
Not all niche marketers choose their passion to be the focus of their business. Great ideas can come from anywhere. It is smart to study competitors in the field you wish to enter and decide on their strengths and weaknesses. Search online for the type of business you wish to pursue. Find out everything you can about them. Search for blog posts, news articles, and industry trends.
Brick-and-Mortar Versus Online
Opening an online business is also an excellent choice for business owners who do not want a brick-and-mortar presence. Competing with other online businesses may be more difficult since the Internet brings you into direct competition with many more businesses than a local enterprise.
You may be able to take advantage of newer models of online sales such as dropshipping. If you choose to dropship, make sure that the products you are promoting are high in quality.
Competing as a Niche Startup
When you have your business plan and your initial set of customers, it is time to try your ideas on the open market. This step can be nerve-wracking. Competing in your niche market will require a great deal of focus and determination. If your heart is not in your business, you will fail. One of the advantages that a startup company has over a large and established firm is that a startup is more agile. If something is not working, the startup company has the freedom to change its ways. You will not need to wade through layers of red tape to make the changes you need.
The market will put a great deal of pressure on your business. This is to be expected. Make sure that you are prepared for the hard times that come at the beginning of your business journey. It may be wise to keep your day job until you have enough income to support yourself.
Be very careful when you hire. Even in a family business, you need to make sure that all of your employees are dedicated to your mission. Since startups need to be lean in order to survive, your employees may at first be working long hours for little compensation. Make sure you find ways to take care of your employees by increasing their benefits as your company grows.
Fight for Your Startup
42 percent of all startup businesses fail. Neglecting the principles of niche marketing is one of the reasons many of these businesses do not succeed. Jason McLaughlan recommends that all startup companies take the time to understand their niche and to use its special qualities to help your business succeed.