The No. 1 Reason Why Entrepreneurs Struggle to Find Their Business Niche


Quite often entrepreneurs struggle to find their business niche, not because they don't know what they are passionate about but because they are often passionate about a lot of things and believe that they have to choose one thing that they will have to do for the rest of their lives. If you're like most entrepreneurs, you embark on the journey of starting your own business because you want to do something you are passionate about and make a living doing it. Whether every passion automatically translates to a profitable business niche is definitely up for debate. It works for some and doesn't work for others. There are many ideas that are ahead of their time or were better suited to a historical era. There are some ideas that are overdone, and though not impossible, would be an uphill battle to pursue in an over-saturated market.

So how does one choose their business niche? Is one relegated to having to use a keyword search tool and analyze the most searched for topics and create a business purely on that data? Not necessarily. Choosing a business niche is an active process balancing intuition, personal inclination, analytics, market research, and honestly, a lot of tweaking. Many people want to pick a niche like they pick a business name -- choose it once and never change it. But this is just not effective. People change, markets change, and economies change. Taking change into account helps you meet market demand (thereby running a profitable business) while staying interested in what you actually provide.

But before you can tweak, you have to start somewhere. Oddly, one of the easiest ways to pick something is to listen to your emotions, one in particular. Our deepest desires are most often revealed through the green-eyed monster of jealousy. If you find yourself getting a gut-level reaction to someone else's business, pay attention to what about the business or the owner triggers you. Is it the fame, notoriety, specific topic, respectability, popularity, intelligence, wealth, impact they have, or something else? Why would you want to be that person or have the business they have? Is it the lifestyle? Dig a little deeper. If someone were to wave a magic wand and give you exactly that, what would you change or do differently? For example, you may envy someone who is an incredible public speaker but it doesn't mean that you ever want to set foot on a stage. So how can you convey information without becoming a public speaker? Perhaps by pursuing writing on a professional level or starting and growing your own blog.

The trick to selecting a niche is actually starting with one thing that is of interest to you that meets market demand. Then start working on building a business around it. Within weeks of committed effort, you'll know whether you really want to be involved in that particular area in a business capacity. For example, you may have envied someone who works in the spa industry until you realize that writing about spa treatments is very different from going away on a spa retreat! On the other hand, if you love the intricacies of understanding the latest spa treatments available, running a blog about spas or creating products for the spa industry might just be your calling.

Many people often talk about exploring what you loved doing as a child to help you find your business niche. The problem with that is that many things exist today that didn't exist even five years ago, never mind when you were growing up! In fact, what you might end up doing for a business over the next 20 years might have nothing to do with what you do in the next year.

It's also important to remember that unless you craft your business in a way that you can spend the majority of your day directly involved in the activity of your interest, you may end up doing other things related to it but not actually get to spend a lot of time on your passion. For example, a blogger or writer who writes articles about mountaineering equipment won't get to spend as much time on a mountain as a mountaineering guide. Someone who sells sewing patterns will spend less time sewing than a seamstress who produces products that she sells on Etsy or through her website. A chocolatier may spend time making chocolates (and have to sample them as part of the job) but if you want to create a business out of eating bonbons all day, you'd need to figure out how to get paid to do that, possibly by becoming a professional taste tester.

As you grow your business, you can hire people to focus on different business functions. In time, you will come upon that sweet spot where you can spend the majority of your time actually doing what you love (even if it means that your business may be the thing that finances it and not necessarily be the source for that activity). So instead of becoming obsessed with the search for the one perfect niche that will help you create a business and life you love, focus on learning how to become an entrepreneur doing something that is of interest to you; then grow your business and become really good at one specific thing that others will want to pay money for (either developing a product that there is great market demand for) or a service that your ideal clients will pay for. If you want to grow your business quickly, you may choose to focus on depth instead of breadth to become the go-to source for everything about that topic or even a particular process around a topic that is popular. Then you'll be on your way to utilizing a powerful, profitable niche from which to run a long-term sustainable business.

Prema Srinivasan helps entrepreneurs find their profitable niche by assisting them to identify the intersection of their passions, skills, and market demand. With an MBA and over 15 years of experience in marketing and business strategy, Prema helps her clients create powerful strategies for success.