When it comes to finding your business niche, all too often the advice you’re given is to look inward, find your passion, and make that the core of what you do. That might be a rewarding, joy-filled existence, but there’s no strong correlation between that and a healthy profit margin. People are passionate about playing sports, but good luck trying to find a business that allows you to do that! Instead, you have to prioritise the passions that also form part of the wider world. You’re not an island; you exist as part of a town, city, nation, continent, world. It’s your role within that framework where you’ll find your niche.
Any businessperson has to have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening, the general mood of a nation, and more specifically an industry. It’s a good marketing tactic to position your business as part of the conversations of society. You see the big boys doing it all the time – businesses using the Olympic Games (of which they have no part) as a basis for a marketing campaign, and so on. As such, it’s akin to piggybacking on the back of…well, anything you can: history, other products, social movements, etc. These opportunities present themselves all the time. You’re to be a part of this world, so don’t try and remove yourself too much.
Existing Products and Services
You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel; only trying to make it marginally better than it currently is. In many cases, you’ll have a whole market segment just there, and it’s all the better if that market draws in people passionate about it. For example, Voudouris’ Turn 5 found their niche in aftermarket performance, gaining a customer base who were already passionate about their vehicles. Similarly, the videogames industry offers a lot of potential – when people get into gaming, they really get into it.
Studying the Market
It’s not enough that you love what you do. You need other people to love what you do, too! And that requires extensive market research. Don’t pick a niche and then study the markets trying to find your ideal customer; study the markets and then find your niche! You’re there to solve or aid a problem. Eventually, by getting knee deep in market research and the like, you’ll naturally come to what is you’re trying to achieve. You’ll have your light bulb moment.
In actuality, the process of finding your niche is difficult; the process of believing it’s a good idea that can come to market is very difficult. As Richard Branson and many other entrepreneurs have told us, business favors the bold. It’s all too easy to think that if your idea was any good, then someone else would have already done it. Resist that thought; it is your mind playing a cruel trick on you. If your idea feel’s like it’s worth pursuing and you can develop a solid business plan, then go ahead and take it to the market!