How to find your business niche

Does your start-up know where it’s going? Find out why choosing the right niche is crucial to business success – and how you can find yours.

When it comes to launching a business, finding the right niche is the most crucial starting point. Identifying your own unique spot in the market is key to running your business with a clearly defined purpose and building for long-term success.

Why you need to narrow your focus

When first starting out, it can be tempting to cast your net as widely as possible. After all, the bigger the audience, the higher the chances of success, right?

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Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes young businesses make is trying to be everything to everyone. When taking a generalist approach, you pit yourself against industry giants who, with huge budgets and a very well-established name, are extremely difficult to compete with.

By narrowing your focus, you offer something unique that customers will struggle to find elsewhere, effectively filling a market gap rather than jumping into an already crowded space.

Narrowing your focus – an example

Consider the food and beverage market. If you try to cover a bit of everything, your potential audience is, in theory, extremely broad – everyone needs food and drink.

However, with plenty of supermarkets already available, what are the chances that you will be able to successfully tap into this entire consumer group? Much slimmer than if you narrowed it down to, say, homemade gluten-free products. Not only does this instantly give your company a unique selling point, it also identifies a much more specific target group. This allows for a much deeper understanding of your ideal customer, and thus a highly concentrated – and effective – marketing campaign.

In short, a carefully chosen niche will set your business apart, strengthen your branding and greatly increase your chances of long-term success.

Things to consider when defining your niche

There are two main factors to consider when defining your niche:

  1. What does your customer base need?
  2. What products or expertise are you able to offer?

Think about who you want to sell to, and identify their potential needs and wants that are currently underserved within your chosen industry. Then consider what you as a company can do to fill this gap.

Take the time to speak to your ideal customers and get to know the current market, drilling down as much as possible – that eureka moment may not happen straight away, but a carefully considered angle will take you much further in the long run. As soon as you come up with something that aligns your strengths and skills with a genuine customer need, you have found your niche.

How to stand out in your chosen market

In choosing a narrow focus for your business, you have already ensured that the customer base is out there. The next step is to reach them through strong branding and marketing.

Your niche is your unique selling point, so focus on showing your customers how you are different from the rest; coin a word or phrase that sums up your core business and instantly conveys your message to the right people.

Available through companies such as 1&1, it’s possible to pick up an industry-related domain ending like fashion or design that will make you more easily identifiable within your genre. As well, create a buzz around your one-of-a-kind product or service through social media promotions and giveaways.

Finally, if you can’t beat the industry giants, why not join them? Your niche audience no doubt makes up part of a wider customer base, whose general needs are being served by the major companies.

By collaborating with a well-known industry name, you build credibility and increase your chances of reaching the particular consumer segment for whom your brand was created. (You can read more about building a successful brand partnership here.)