Starting your own business is one of the most exciting times of an entrepreneur's life. The thrill of running your own show, the terror at realizing you don't know what you don't know, the elation as you read an email from a customer who gushes about your product, all of these things become part and parcel of the job of running a successful business. But how do you get to even become a successful business owner? No doubt you've got a ton of great ideas about how your product or service is going to help your customers out there, but if you don't follow one rule you'll never be able to grab onto your piece of the market share.
So what's the one magic rule that can make or break your business? Find a niche and hold onto it for dear life.
This rule runs across the board, no matter how high level your business idea is. Whether you're looking to sell handmade products made in your kitchen, creating a blog all about your passion that earns enough money to be your primary income, running a staffing agency that caters to finding jobs for physicians, or even opening a white collar law firm in New York City, finding a definable niche is the key to your success.
Think of it this way: You cannot be everything to everyone. To try and cater to a wide variety of customers means that you'll need to spend more time (and more money) chasing after each demographic. Imagine how difficult it must be to run and monitor separate Facebook campaigns for Millennial women and Baby Boomer grandparents. You'd drive yourself crazy trying to break into each group successfully. Instead, focus on defining a customer group that is so small you become uncomfortable catering to just them.
It may seem like a terrifying idea, especially if your customer base appears to be only in the thousands (as opposed to the millions) but think of the time you can spend learning about your customer base, getting to know their pain points, and really crafting sales funnels that are so refined they make the sale for you. It will feel counterintuitive at first, after all, wouldn't casting a wider net mean more potential for sales? But by accepting the fact that "the riches are in the niches" is the key to setting your business up for success faster than your competitors.
When you define a niche so carefully that you become seen as a leader in the market, you guarantee a steady income that will support your new products, or even allow you a safety net that gives you the ability to branch out into new markets without the fear of starting at zero all over again. When you cater to a defined customer base, you create an ecosystem of opportunity that allows for your business to create a diehard fanbase much faster than a business that is just looking to be seen as the solution for everyone.
Craft a plan to break into a niche before you even decide on your product or service and you'll be well on your way to launching a business that is run smarter, is more efficient, and is geared towards faster profits than your competitors.