If there is one truth about the World Wide Web is that it can almost certainly be guaranteed that you’ll find at least one person interested in the wildest ideas imaginable. This rings true for business, too.
Think back just ten years ago.
· Would you have imagined the crazy items that we have now thanks to sites like Kickstarter?
· Would you have imagined there is a growing market that has been created by 3D printing?
· Would you have thought anyone with a craft could now sell through a site like Etsy?
My point is that the Web, being open and accessible to nearly everyone, has given us a platform for our ideas, inventions, and wild creations. When we find others interested in our work we have the ability to start a business. This business may stay niche or it may explode in popularity but it really is true when I say there is a business for everything.
Scratching the Niche
When you talk about niche businesses you may automatically assume they are so minute that there is:
A. Not a whole lot of room once competition steps in
B. Not a whole lot of people willing to buy
These two concerns are inherent because a niche is as it’s described: It’s a very small segment of a larger market. However, these shouldn’t be deterrents.
There are many opportunities to create a viable niche business if you understand supply and demand.
There are those businesses based on:
The businesses that satisfy needs are those able to last a very long time; those that focus on the wants can come and go depending on fads and changes in the market.
· PackNBoxNow has carved out a niche business selling customization corrugated boxes which are always in demand because every business shipping produce must have these items to complete the process of logistics.
· HP, Canon, Brother, and other printer manufacturers provide the printer and printing supplies which keeps their users locked into their business cycle. The supplies are needed to power the machine so there is an endless amount of demand.
· Keurig is a recent example of a business that went after a niche (single cup servings) which is a want item but then locked people in (need) due to their special cups. There are alternatives for these special cups but they’re trying their best to implement DRM in the next model to stop these third party suppliers.
What can you learn from these three examples?
First, keep in mind this idea of needs versus wants. Someone wanting an item will generally buy it because they are emotional but you can’t expect that excitement to last forever. Someone buying an item based on a need is doing so logically so there is a true, perceived value in the exchange beyond instant satisfaction like that expected when buying a wanted item.
Second, examine the buying habits of those around you (and yourself). Compile and assess items you (and others) frequently purchase and divide them into a need/want list. Using the list generated by the need side you can take to the Web to begin research on the competition.
Finally, examine what the competition has to offer, find a unique selling point which would allow you to enter the market, and begin delivering that product or service.
Countless companies overlook these small but very much needed items in the marketplace. They aim to satisfy the wants of the masses and if they DO focus on the needs they aim for the big categories because that’s where their effort is best suited.
For you, however, starting a small business by scratching a niche in even the most obscure areas of interest and needs can lead to a considerable influx of revenue. The Web creates this opportunity. It also aids with the process. All you have to do is keep your finger on the pulse and take action when the opportunity arises.