Set Your Business Apart by Building a Distinctive Niche

Consumers have gained control of the marketplace and it's time for you to gain control of your niche market! Do you have a niche market? Leslie Speidel offers tips on how to find it.

Whether you're a large business or a small business just getting started from your home office, you have one thing in common in today's competitive marketplace: you both need a niche!

Today's consumers are desensitized to the mass market advertising that bombards them everyday. They know that every business is price competitive...every business offers selection...and great service is expected.

So what can you do to get the buyer's attention? What can you do when the "big box" retailers sell an item for less than you can buy it for at wholesale AND can offer service, selection and delivery as well?

Consumers have gained control of the marketplace and it's time for you to gain control of your niche market!

What does the word "niche" mean? And what does it mean to you? By definition, the word "niche" means something perceived as special, unique, one-of-a-kind. Thus, once you can identify what can be special, unique or one-of-a-kind about your business or service, price won't have to be the factor when consumers buy from you. You can offer something unique that will drive clients to your business who will not be as price sensitive as the mass market shopper.

A niche focuses your energies on a small segment of a market instead of the whole market.

This small segment of the market must:

1. be unserved or underserved 2. have a need for what you are selling 3. be large enough to be considered a market segment 4. be geographically workable for you 5. be easy to reach through marketing and advertising

You cannot afford to create a demand for what you are selling...it's too costly!

Niche strategies include...

Customer type strategies...such as big and tall men, or petite sized women, or people who work from home.

Service strategies...where you offer a service that is not available from any other company

Geographic strategies...where you sell or do business in either a specific market or to a specific locale

How do you develop your niche? Take a look at who you are as an individual. What special talents do you possess? What do your friends and family always say about you? See yourself from the perspective of others who know you. What is the perspective of the customers who already buy from you? Ask them what they see. Ask them what's missing. It's possible that what's obvious to you may not be obvious to them. It's also possible that a previous career or hobby may provide the knowledge base that can be integrated into the business you are currently in.

Once you've learned what others have to say, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Can you develop something unique around your special knowledge or service? You want toi set your business apart so that you can develop a loyal and upscale clientele whoi will stay with you for that something extra that they've been looking for but couldn't find elsewhere? Price won't be the issue at the moment of purchase if you are giving the buyer that special unique service that only you can deliver.

But keep your eyes trained on the future! Watch for trends in the marketplace that may force you to re-tool and re-focus your niche. Your niche must be flexible so that you can adapt to change. Yes, you're just beginning to be comfortable with your new niche and people are just beginning to hear about it, but if you let your guard down and plan to get comfortable with your niche for a long time, you may find your market share eroding. Keep asking your customers what they want. If their needs change, so must your niche.

Leslie Speidel is an international marketing coach and President of Small Business University. You can receive her FREE email newsletter, Marketing Success by emailing Leslie@themarketingcoach.com with the words Subscribe Marketing Success in the Subject line.


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