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The Challenge today for evey business is to carve a niche in the marketplace for their business. Whilst this might sound like a great idea and even feasible many people don’t know what a niche is… According to the Oxford Dictionary it’s your place or position that’s just right for you and your business. However, it’s more than that.
Your niche is what makes your business yours. Having a well-defined niche is the difference between having a business that stands out and having just one of many. If you use it correctly, it can be your shortcut to success. This is why it’s important to not only have a niche, but to develop it so that the place or position that you’re working in is well defined and solid.
It’s also important because it:
- sets you apart from everyone else, even when other businesses are similar to yours
- gives you a solid sense of what your business is all about
- helps you get back on track if you get stuck
- sticks your business in people’s minds for the future
So, is your business yours? Do you have a niche? Is it well defined? The following sets of questions can help you work out the answers to these questions and where to go from there.
- Do you have a niche?
- Can you describe your business in a few key words?
- Can you explain why you chose the industry that you’re in?
- Can you identify what you’re doing to set yourself apart from other similar businesses?
- Can you explain what your unique selling proposition is?
- Can your articulate the key features of your business?
- Do you know why your customers come to you rather than other businesses?
- Is the solution that you’re providing unique?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the majority of these questions, congratulations! You definitely have a niche and you’re on the right track to having an unforgettable business. These are the kinds of things that you can ask yourself if you’re ever in a slump or if you feel that it’s time to make a change.
If you answered a mixture of ‘yes’ and ‘no’, you’re in a good place to develop your niche. When you can answer ‘yes’ to most of them, your niche and your business will both be stronger. Have a look at your business plan if you’re stuck – going back to your core goals can remind you of why you’re here and drive you forward.
If you answered ‘no’ to most of the questions, you might be heading towards a wobbly area. If you don’t know why you’re different to other similar businesses and how, it’s likely that customers won’t be aware of you or even notice you. This is definitely not where you want to be.
However, it’s never too late to make a change. Think through the questions, one at a time, and maybe go over your business plan again. This might help you work out what you want your key words and features to be, knowing what you want is the first step in getting it.
- Do you have a well-defined niche?
- Has your niche contributed to your success?
- Do you have customers who return often?
- Do you know why your business is special?
- Do you know what customer needs you are satisfying? Do you know how you’re satisfying these needs?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these, well done! It looks like you’ve carved out a solid niche and you’re on the right track to having a successful and rewarding business. Remember that it’s important to tend to your niche and keep developing it to make sure that it stays strong.
If you answered with a mixture of ‘yes’ and ‘no’, you’ve definitely set up the foundation for your niche, which is the most important aspect. Now you need to work on developing and strengthening it. This might take some work but the rewards will make the hard work worth it.
If most of your answers were ‘no’, it might be worth dedicating some time to developing your niche. Like all aspects of running your own small business, strengthening your niche can be trying and time consuming, however, the benefits of carving out a strong niche more than make up for the work you might have to put in. It’s never too late to start developing and polishing it.
There’s no one right way to go about this, but there are heaps of ideas that can help you get started. The options are endless. Here are several things that you may find helpful.
- Brainstorm the possible directions you can go in – which do you like best?
- Try different things and compare the results – which one works the best?
- Research your competition – is there something that no-one’s providing?
- Look at your favourite places to shop – why are they your favourites? What can you learn from them?
- Think about areas you’re drawn to – what are you good at?
- Revise your business plan – where do you need to add in any new ideas?
- Speak to a business advisor – what are you struggling with?
The Business Enterprise Centre is a community based not-for-profit organisation established to foster the growth of business within the Central West of NSW. We are managing agents for the NSW government Small Biz connect Program, Australian Government ASBAS and NEIS program. To find out how we can assist your business contact the BEC on 63620448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org