If you want to start a business, you’ll need a unique market niche for it. That means spotting a gap in customer provision, or an opportunity to improve on what’s there. It’s crucial to have a clear patch for your stall to enable it to stand out from the crowd, so use these five pointers to find the perfect one for you.
1. Choose a niche that interests you
To ensure your business flourishes, you’ll need to put it before everything else in your life, at least at first, so pick a topic or an aspect of your chosen one that will sustain your interest. You’ll need to be sufficiently interested in the subject to see it through your customers’ eyes, too, and understand their needs and wishes.
2. Check out what provision already exists
Identify your potential rivals, to find out what’s already out there in the line you have in mind. Surf the internet using a range of search terms to ensure you don’t miss anything. View websites, blogs, social media sites, forums and other platforms, taking note of which competitors are most popular and why. Which ones are struggling?
Browse their customer reviews to find out why, and consider if you could provide a better service.
Try out their products and services and consider what could be done better by you.
Look up their annual profits and observe how they’re expanding, if at all.
Could you take the theme in a new direction or add an extra perk?
Who are your rivals’ customers, and could you win some of them over by offering something a little different?
Find out as much as you can before stepping in.
3. Pick an apparent market gap and put it to the test
Try to identify two or more potential gaps in provision, and try them out. You’ll need to ascertain whether there is, indeed, a gap, or whether there is just no call for the provision. It could be that your competitors have omitted that aspect for good reason.
You’ll also need to test your own interest in the area you’ve selected. Give it all your time and attention for a trial period and see how you feel by the end of it. If need be, change course and pursue one of your other potential niches instead.
4. Consider hazards and challenges
Every business encounters problems, but if you see them coming, you can set contingency plans or safety measures in place accordingly. Take a critical look at your preferred niche from all possible angles, looking out for potential hitches, then think how you would deal with them. If you foresee any major stumbling block, seek professional advice as to whether and how to go ahead – there could be a simple solution that experts in the field will know about. But if the idea still seems beset with problems, it might be best to abandon it and try a different one.
5. Assess profit potential
You will need to estimate your likely profits, both short and long-term. Get a grip on the facts and figures involved and face up to the tough questions. Is the niche wide enough to draw enough customers, for instance, and is there sufficient potential for expansion? Weigh up the different aspects involved to check if it’s really viable. Your niche might be an exclusive one, attracting only a small section of society, but those customers might be happy with high prices.
On the other hand, your product might attract numerous customers, provided you set your prices low, and this could also work out well. You’ll have other considerations to take into account, too, such as financial outlay and risk factors, so balance all these together for an accurate picture. If it still looks promising, you’ll know you’ve hit on a great little niche.
Once you’ve made sure your idea is workable, you can fly with it. Never mind the odd bump or glitch – with a flexible approach and a steady hand, you can drive it full-speed ahead.
How did you identify your company’s niche?