America has a reputation for being the land of opportunity, and part of that is derived from a distinctive entrepreneurial spirit. Recent studies show that this is highly opportunity-driven, as opposed to being born of necessity; over half of US citizens are aware of good business opportunities, and the last two years have seen around 25 million Americans start or run new ventures.
Those numbers don’t tell the full story, though. What holds back the rest of the population from capitalizing on perceived opportunities? The presence of fierce, established competition may be one factor; and while would-be entrepreneurs are often encouraged to seek a niche for themselves, many don’t fully grasp the best practices involved. These three principles will help to guide you in identifying and securing such a position.
Work from what you know
The advice to “write what you know” is familiar to any aspiring author, and a similar approach works for anyone seeking to found a successful startup. Ideas are actually quite common; a session of brainstorming can easily yield a dozen potential niche proposals. Yet businesses succeed by serving a need, and you need look no further than your immediate community to know more about its needs. Local off-roading enthusiasts in Utah will have needs for brand name specialty services which can be met with specific auto shop equipment. Pay close attention to what you know – the people around you, what they do, and challenges they face – and use this to generate great business ideas.
Do further research
At the same time, investing more time and effort into online research will also pay off. The ever-expanding reach of ecommerce and logistics fulfilment solutions has made it possible to launch a startup that serves the needs of a remote customer base. Look at product reviews on social media, app stores, or on major retail sites such as Amazon; the detailed feedback of unhappy customers can provide inspiration for a new business idea. For example, there are many yoga apps available, but only a handful which are targeted towards seniors. Look through feedback and you may find that some customers are unhappy with features such as language settings, or the difficulty of exercises for the mobility-impaired or injured. And just like that, you can find a niche idea that serves an existing audience.
Connect with your customer
With a little effort, good or even feasible business ideas aren’t hard to come by. But the customer is a major part of the equation. Even if you put in the effort to flesh out your business proposal, without a firm grasp of the target audience, you may be working in the dark. As you conduct research, check out the competition; what sector are they overlooking? Is there a specific demographic – by age, ethnicity, gender, income level, and so on – whose needs aren’t being addressed by the existing solutions? And from that slice of the market, how could your offering best fit into their lifestyle? Through a thoughtful process of elimination and refining the picture of your ideal customer, you can arrive at the best way to begin connecting with them and translating a good niche idea to business success.
Remember that oft-quoted adage: inspiration is only 1% of success. These tips will help you find a niche market idea and visualize how to reach the ideal customer with your product or service; the rest of the hard work begins from there.