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Finding and building a niche – a special area of demand for a product or service – could prove to be both rewarding and profitable for your business. This tactic for growth can be especially useful if you work in a competitive industry.

A niche could be an area that specifically suits you and your interests and/or your abilities such as your background, hobbies, special interests or knowledge set.

In the early days of a business, cashflow is critical and it can be tempting to take on any potential client that comes your way. It’s often the same once you’re in full swing, especially during tough times, or it may simply be the way you operate. There’s no right or wrong but there are plenty of opportunities in catering to a niche.

Benefits and opportunities

A niche can help identify and promote a point of difference. Offering education, training, products and/or services that cater to a particular niche can help bring the right kinds of clients, partners and/or suppliers to you.

Over time, you could become a trusted source of advice and a highly sought-after spokesperson in your field of expertise. This can open up all manner of opportunities such as new leads.

Understanding a niche

If you have a particular niche in mind, explore and understand the business opportunities, such as their interests, desires and needs. Then ask yourself if you can help fulfill these in a way that many others in your industry can’t.

Conversely, consider if the niche can produce enough demand to help fulfill your needs. If it’s too small, it may not be worth your time or could already be covered by fierce competitors. Is it worth the effort trying to break in? Identify whether you can offer a solid point of difference before you invest.

Targeting your niche

Some ways to reach a niche include industry associations, business networking groups, forum discussions and attending relevant events. Do you have contacts who can introduce you to a key person or group?

Find out how your niche likes to be communicated with i.e. website, blog, mail, newsletter, tweets, phone or email, or all of the above and more. If they’re Generation X, Y or ‘C’ (connected customer), social media tools likely play an important role in the way you engage with them. If they’re mainly Baby Boomers, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook may not be the key communication channels you use.

Having a great website with easy to understand (and up to date) content that clearly illustrates your point of difference can help generate new business leads. A recent MYOB survey of 1000+ SMEs found more than one third (37 percent) who had a business website reported it increased customer leads. Yet, overall, we found only 38 percent had a website!

Note that a niche may not be a specific industry you target. It could be decision makers of a particular ‘type’ within businesses of all types. Either way, make sure your targets can fulfill your needs just as much as you can fulfill theirs.

So…. what niche could you target?

What do you think?

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Kristy Sheppard

Kristy Sheppard

Kristy Sheppard is MYOB's manager for public relations. She has more than a decade of experience in the public relations space, spanning B2C and B2B corporate and consulting roles within the technology, financial services, franchising and FMCG industries. At MYOB she delivers programs communicating its vision, business advocacy stance and milestones as it advances products towards and within the online landscape.

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