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Exactly What is a Niche and Why Does Every Small Business Need One?

First of all, a niche is not a gimmick encased in a silver bullet. A niche is nothing more than a fancy word for a specialty and specializing is the name of the game in growing a small business today.

Niches are at the heart of every successful business, product or service. Niche marketing is the polar opposite of mass marketing. Mass marketers often have their own niche as in always low prices. . . always (WalMart).

A small independent business or business professional needs to clearly isolate exactly what their business has or does better than their competition including the mass marketers.

Whether your business is mature, in a start-up mode or you are just contemplating, you need to identify specific customer needs (NOT wants) that have been ignored, overlooked or neglected by others.

These opportunities represent niche areas that you can specialize in and capitalize upon to grow, start or build your business.

Identifying a niche is not a destination, however. It is and must continue to be a work in progress. The reason for this is that the marketplace and consumers continue to change before our very eyes.

You and your business, your product mix, your menu of services must be capable of changing with the times. The big boxes (mass merchants) with their corporate headquarters far a field are usually slow to pick up on changes in localized markets.

That fact gives small local businesses an advantage IF the business owner or manager has their pulse in synch with their local customers.

You need to think sideways, backwards and outside-in about your present or potential customers and how they are currently being served in your local marketplace. When you do, you are bound to come up with a good niche concept.

If you constantly see agitated customers waiting in line at the big box stores, make sure every customer in your store is waited on promptly and courteously. That is not easy to do, but the payoff can be huge.

If you feel like ripping the phone out of the wall when you call a business and are put through the press one, press two routine, see to it that YOUR phone is answered PROMPTLY by a REAL person who has a friendly phone presence and a smiling personality.

Again, not easy to pull off, but IF you can do it; the payoff will be well worth the effort.

If your local research shows that prospects are turned off by the fact that they do not get their calls or questions answered PROMPTLY, take the necessary steps to see that every customer and prospect receives immediate attention from you and your staff.

Here are six compelling reasons why every small business needs a niche:

1. A niche increases your chances of survival by insulating you from the whims of the marketplace.

2. A niche increases the effectiveness of your advertising allowing you to concentrate on a clearly defined audience instead of aimlessly prattling on to everyone.

3. You will experience less competition because a niche will position you as a leader in your chosen area and not as just another business.

4. Your business will be more profitable because you
will have better control of your pricing and your promotional expenditures.

5. The hour-to-hour changes blowing through your
marketplace will affect you less because you can spot the change and act upon it immediately.

6. You will be able to build your business faster by making fewer mistakes as regards who you are, who your customers are and how you can cost effectively reach them. 

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