When you launch your startup, you'll face many challenges and bumps in the road. Rather than allowing these to daunt you, welcome them. Each one will help you build a stronger sense of identity as a company and guide you closer to your niche within your industry.
Why is it so important to find your niche? Choosing to concentrate on a particular area rather than the entire breadth of the industry allows you to hone in on a target audience. This naturally eliminates competition and creates an opportunity for your business to build a reputation as an area expert.
Find Your Niche
At first, finding your niche within the gestalt of your industry may feel overwhelming. This is the stage to try on different hats to discover which suits you best. My company, Cutler Group, originated as a public relations firm that worked with a wide variety of clients; from food distributors to consulting firms, our focus was quite broad. It wasn't until we obtained our first tech-focused client that we realized how much we loved and were energized by the growing field. From then on, we became exclusively a tech PR agency and we haven't looked back since.
When you have identified an area of the industry that excites you, you are on your way to finding your niche -- but you aren't quite done yet. From here, identify a problem, recognize how your product or service can help, and focus all of your attention on that one area. That focus will guide the development of your company and your product.
Develop Your Niche and Stick to It
Once you have discovered your niche, stick to it in order to become a leader in your field. Maintain the quality and integrity of your product at all times to ensure your clients have a reason to stay with your company.
If your startup is to become the "go to" name in the business, you will also need to become in expert on your field. Be constantly aware of changing trends and industry news. There is always something new to learn. Be voracious for information.
While finding a niche is very important, it is crucial to avoid closing your company off to too many potential opportunities. My company works with clients across various tech sectors rather than just focusing on one or two. In this way, we focus on the technology industry without limiting ourselves to a narrow pool.
Find Your Voice and Market Carefully
It is also important to build a voice and a presence for your company within your field. Attend industry-specific events, meetups and conferences. Seek out speaking opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to you. Sponsorship is also a very effective way to increase your visibility. There are many paths to take when it comes to building awareness of your brand, so do not be hesitant to show the world who you are in as many ways as possible!
Blogging, writing a column for an industry newsletter, and publishing work targeted at the groups that will use your product are also great tools to build business. They are another way to establish you as a thought leader and create a sense of recognition.
While all of these avenues will create opportunities for your startup, you should also remember that word of mouth within a niche industry is everything. Communities are tight-knit, so producing the best possible results for each of your clients will earn you a reliable reputation and will increase demand for your product.
What do you think? How have your embarked on the journey to finding your niche in your industry, and how have you maintained it?
Zach Cutler is an entrepreneur and is founder and CEO of Cutler Group, a tech PR agency headquartered in New York City. A member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, Zach specializes in crafting innovative PR campaigns to help innovative tech companies and startups thrive.