26 May 2010, by A. Cedilla
Hitting the right niche is only the start. There’s a connection between understanding the context and importance of the niche, and using this understanding to up your likelihood of succeeding — and more importantly — staying in business.
Here are a few observations we’ve amassed on how to recognize and use niches to increase the odds of success in your business’s favor.
Niches are the only way to survive in online business. You can’t be all things to all people, that’s an unrealistic and downright dumb goal to aspire to. You’d burn out trying. Actually, you’d be setting yourself up to crash and burn.
For example, think of Amazon. Amazon sells practically everything that can be sold (legally) online but Amazon is not its merchandise.
From its start as an on-line bookstore, Amazon went on to become the world’s biggest on-line retailer, dominating its niche. Think of more popular names. eBay. YouTube. Google. What niches do these brands occupy?
When you try to be everything to everyone, you become generic. You lose differentiation.
No one cares what happens to an unfocused marketer, or would waste their time listening to an incoherent message. Finding or having your niche shows that you understand the need for a place for people with particular interests, and ensures that there’s something for everyone in that place.
Finding your brand, your distinct message, your voice, is part of leveraging niche-understanding into your business plan.
Let’s make it clear that it’s not quite being the “big fish in a small pond” any more, even if what we’re leading to is a return to counter-intuitive thinking. Let’s refine the image — instead of big fishes and ponds, think of it as being a frog on a hunt to find the right lily pad for you. Find the right supportive environment where you can thrive.
You have to understand, the internet connects the world (and it’s a big world — there’s room for everyone). The billions of connections out there are fascinating, amazing sources of opportunity, but not iron-clad guarantees. You have to know what you want and what you have to give, know who you are and what you have to say, so you can find the place and the people who would welcome you and want to listen to you.
And then you have to find a way to earn money off that, which calls in another mind-set entirely.
If you’re finding it difficult, don’t try to bull through the hardship all by your lonesome.Start even smaller. Use collaborative effort and join a group of like-minded individuals, or start a community. That way you multiply your knowledge and force by building a support net where you can fill in for one another and support one another with your best efforts.
If and when you ‘break free’ from the original group, the relationships are still there, and it’s not so much a breaking free as it can be an expansion of the net. You could build an audience by that time, and if you’re as good as you plan to be, they’ll follow.
Use this knowledge to find your place. When you do, make yourself stand out. Build your own stage, shine on your own platform and sing using your own voice. Find your place.
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