Finding a niche is the most common advice entrepreneurs give other entrepreneurs. But what does it really mean? How do we decide on our niche? How narrow do we want our niche to be? These are all questions to rigorously consider before entering into the market place.
Lots of entrepreneurs say the smaller the niche, the better in the beginning. Having a strong initial audience is crucial in the starting out phase. These will be your die hard customers and most dependable fan base. They will be passionate fans of yours because you’re the only one that speaks to who they are. You have to create a niche around a very specific type of person. By doing so, that type of person will be attracted towards you since you are the only one that really gets them. You will be the only brand that knows what’s on their mind, knows their interests, and knows how they want to be treated. That’s why having a niche is so important. When it all boils down, it’s really all about getting to know your customer very intensely.
It’s very often to change the direction of the niche you want to go with. That’s all a part of listening to your customers and repeating what works. There are many people who start off with a broad concept then hone in on their niche over time. They like to lay out a variety of options and then after seeing and analyzing what works, they double down on that specific market and product or service. This isn’t a bad strategy in my opinion, especially if you don’t know what niche you want to attack is yet. However, starting small is still the best way to start a small business.
How do we find our niche? There are lots of ways to come up with a niche you want to sell to. The best way is to sell to yourself. You are the only person like you. You may think that you have very common interests, but that’s fine and I’ll tell you why. You can use a variety of your interests to create a brand new niche by combining your interests. A classic example of this is the founder of the comic strip, “Dilbert”. The creator, Scott Adams, was never a world class cartoonist, world class comic, or a world class writer. He was competent in all of those areas but was never the best. However, when he combine those 3 skills, he became the best cartoonist/funny person/writer because that niche was incredibly small. He gave himself less competition by adding on skills to combine. There are many funny writers out there. But, there aren’t many funny writers who can draw. As a result, he found a way to have less competition and perhaps even created a brand new niche from combining an unlike set of skills. What skills can you combine to form your own niche?
Another way to find your niche is to choose a common product then rebrand it for an uncommon market for that product. For example, a common product could be home gym equipment. And an uncommon market for that product could be hipsters. A common product for an uncommon market is still creating a niche. You will have far less competition because you aren’t worrying about branding to the typical gym-goers. You are branding to an underserved market and building it up. By starting near the top of a niche market, you will only grow on top with the market as more competitors enter that space.
“Wantrepreneurs”, or those wanting to become entrepreneurs, have the hardest time doing one thing. This one thing is starting. They come up with a million reasons not to start like they don’t have their niche focus identified yet. If this is the case, then the best thing to do at that moment is to start and your niche will find you. It’s very common for an entrepreneur’s niche to change possibly more than once anyway. The best advice in this scenario is to start by doing what you’re good at or products that you currently use. Then worry about identifying your niche later on. This strategy lets the niche identify itself to you. If you have monthly reassessments and continue to repeat what works and drop what doesn’t, then you will get to your niche eventually. This will save you a lot of headache of trying to be perfect before you even start your business. Start it. Then let the niche present itself to you. This method is great for those who don’t have a niche identified in the beginning and that’s fine. However it’s important to note that this method also requires a lot of patience and testing. Growth is slow and it should be since there is no niche market defined. But, the point is to get over the hump of starting and getting that bear off of your shoulders.
Finding your niche has proven itself time and time again to be the one full proof principle for becoming a successful entrepreneur. You can have all the fancy content and websites, but if you aren’t solving a problem for a specific type of customer then you won’t be around for the long haul. Find your niche and get going. If you are having trouble finding your niche, start it anyway. Then the niche will present itself to you over time and evaluation.