“Are you ready to become the big fish in a small pond?” asks Scott Gerber of Entrepreneur Magazine. “From aquatic sporting goods for dogs to Michelle Obama-inspired fashion websites, niche products and services have the potential to generate big bucks if they capture the hearts, minds and wallets of a dedicated consumer base.”
As you know, I’m a huge believer in setting aside that “get the numbers -beat the competition” approach to business. As our population ages — people aged forty and older now make up the largest adult population in North America — more and more entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities that are not only profitable, but meaningful. This often leads to niche businesses — businesses that are tailored to specific markets that are often overlooked by the large franchises.
Mr. Gerber’s article, “Five Steps to Building a Successful Niche Business,” gives a terrific example of how the internet has changed the world, creating endless possibilities for entrepreneurs who are following their passion instead of the dollars. He mentioned Google as an example of how niche businesses can find tremendous success by providing a simple service — a search engine ranked by backlinks — and doing it well.
So how can you profit by serving your specific niche? Mr. Gerber says:
- Create a Simple Service. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, choose a specific market that has a specific, unmet need and meet that need.
- Become the leading expert of your niche.
- Be Specific, Distinctive and Relevant.
- Copy, Past and Repeat. Keep hammering that message home.
It’s a new era in business. Consumers have lost interest in corporations that treat them as numbers or a prize to be won. If you know what your customers want and set about delivering it with a customer service attitude, they will be drawn to you. If you approach other entrepreneurs with an eye toward finding win-win ideas, you’ll both grow your business. Thanks to the internet, you can do both of these in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
If you still wonder whether putting people above profit will dampen your success, remember Google’s declared Code of Conduct: “Don’t be evil.” The Google prospectus notes: “We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.”
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