I was asked recently by a lady that had decided to operate a home-based business, what it meant to “niche your way” to a business fortune.
I didn’t ask her where she picked up that phrase, but I have a good idea it was something said in an ad or a “how to” article somewhere online associated with running a business in today’s environment.
It’s a pretty trite expression these days, but the concept is still relevant and should be the basis of most every business entrepreneur strategy related to doing online commerce.
This gal’s question took me back a bit – I guess I just assumed that everyone knew what a niche business was and that it was pretty much a “given” for today’s highly segmented business market.
The fact that this soon-to-be new business owner didn’t understand the concept (or at least didn’t know what the phrase referred to) got me thinking that she really needed some help quick.
I asked her what her business was going to sell and how she was going to generate income.
She had a plan to sell some of her family favorite “hand me down” recipes and she figured she’d do that by marketing a cookbook (it sounded more like a simple recipe directory of instructions to me) on eBay and from her own web site.
She further confided that the recipes were so good it would be impossible for her book to not be a hit.
She didn’t ask for my continued help or advice, so I simply answered her question about the term “niche business” and wished her well in her new business career.
Now I don’t know what your reaction to this lady’s plan or product is, but mine was one of wonder.
I wondered how she had decided to go into business in the first place, and how she would do in the very competitive and segmented “cooking” and recipe environment online.
One of the most difficult lessons to learn as an entrepreneur is that there defined audiences and prospects for your business. Assuming that “everyone” is your possible customer is nearly always a mistake.
Yes, anyone could be interested in what you offer, but the real question is . . . who wants it badly enough to buy it right now when presented with the offer?
This woman felt that “everyone” would want what she was offering.
She had a “shotgun” mindset that she would just blast away without much thought of aiming at a very select or specific target group of customers.
Online, there is no greater flaw to a business marketing approach than to try to sell something to everyone.
Very few entrepreneurs, in my experience, ever go deep enough in their niche to become really successful.
There is a natural tendency to want to keep your prospect pool as large as possible.
But believe me, it is possible to make a good living on just a few loyal and passionate customers willing to pay a healthy amount for your products and/or services, especially if the customer is very passionate about the niche.
By focusing on the narrowest of market segments, you typically increase your probability of success since you are:
– identifying very exactly whom you will best be able to match your products or services to,
– reducing the number of “tire kickers” and marginally interested prospects as you hone in on the “ready, willing, and able” buyers in the target market,
– providing a very specialized offering, one that is tailor-made for your customers,
– reducing the amount of work you’ll have to do in keeping track of your prospects, answering customer questions, and following up on concerns. You will have more time available to do marketing and create new products if you spend less time on customer support since there are fewer customers to begin with and they are more apt to be satisfied with your product.
– focusing on the few places these perfect customers can be found online. The more specialized and targeted your audience, the easier it will be to locate them and subsequently make contact with them.
– confining your efforts to mostly unique and very specific products. You won’t have to satisfy everyone with a product offering, but can concentrate instead on developing something that is specific to just your very narrow audience.
So my advice to any new entrepreneur is to get as specific and narrow in your business niche as you possibly can.
Considering the reach and global nature of the Internet, there will still be more than enough prospects for you to sell your wares.
And remember, new potential prospects are coming online each day.
To your online business success,