Small business owners are often encouraged to find their niche. It’s good advice. By focusing on a specific niche, you can position yourself as an expert, target your audience precisely and cut out any wasted time and effort by not trying to please all the people all the time.
Note: Many businesses fail because they have no focus. It’s not just a case of piling things up and selling them cheaply. If people don’t know your business for the one good thing you specialize in, they are going to go elsewhere (probably to Amazon — and you cannot compete with Amazon).
Find Customers as Passionate as You
One of the great things about running an online business is the fact that you are not limited by your geography. You can run your business from just about anywhere and not have to worry about passing trade on the street. In fact, you could argue that an online store managed from a rural location has a significant advantage over a city-based business in terms of costs.
This is important for any niche business owner because when you narrow your focus, you cannot afford for your physical location to limit your opportunity. You may only have a handful of people in your town or city who might be interested in your product or service — but when you can reach a wider audience online, you’ll quickly build a community of clients who are as passionate about your business as you are.
Tough Love Time: Niche business owners who don’t take the opportunity to expand their trade online and then complain about the Internet killing their businesses are essentially fools. Business constantly evolves, and if you don’t adapt to the changes, you are the only person you can blame for your fall in fortunes.
Narrow Your Niche
Some niches are wider than others. Think how many product lines (SKUs) an online sports store could carry. It’s never-ending.
If you try to please all the people all the time, you’ll never hold a complete range of products to please your “specialist” customers.
Personal Note: As a keen cyclist, I would never go to a general sports store to pick up spares and accessories for my bike. The chances are they wouldn’t have everything I was looking for, and they almost certainly wouldn’t be able to give me the specialist advice I needed. Remember, bad advice is worse than no advice — so don’t try and fudge it.
The 80/20 Rule
It’s also worth considering that 80 percent of your profits will come from only 20 percent of your products. How many lines do you carry in the hope of attracting extra trade that just sit on your shelves and cost you money?
Be Good at One Thing
When you are good at one thing, you remove risk from your business. You can focus all your marketing efforts on speaking directly to your core audience and reduce the wastage that comes from “fishing” for new trade. You become the expert who people will turn to for advice and trust when it comes to making important purchases.
Is your niche business really a niche business, or is it just a random selection of products and/or services that are loosely connected but have limited crossover appeal? Could you benefit from narrowing your focus and targeting a specific audience? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.