Everything starts with an idea, a vision.
Seeing the whole picture at the beginning of an undertaking, while being uncertain of your direction can be a real challenge. If nothing else, remember the following sentence.
Everything depends upon your niche.
Choose the right niche, and you are well ahead of the curve. Choose the wrong niche, and you could be setting yourself up for months or years of needless struggle. The plus side is, you will learn valuable skills regardless.
While an entrepreneur’s “gut feeling” provides the passion for pursuing an idea, it’s what the market wants, which will dictate your success or failure. It’s often a lot easier to enter a market which already has existing cash flow and money to spend, than trying to convince people they need your product or service.
In some cases, based on market research, you could potentially be the first to create a new niche market. However, if this is your first time dipping your toe in the waters of micro business ownership, shoot for a market that has a need, and fill it.
- Can I make it better, faster, cheaper? (You can do 2 of the 3!)
- Can I create an accompanying product that piggybacks off current market offerings?
- What is my unique selling proposition (USP)?
- Do I have a unique way to market my product/service offering?
Give this a lot of thought!
You’re probably asking, how do I determine what the market wants?
Let me share a few ideas to get you started. This short post isn’t an instructional manual, it’s simply ideas to point you in the right direction.
A neat idea to consider is Rip, Pivot, Jam presented by the Tropical MBA Podcast.
Seeing fairly accurate keyword research data goes a long way in determining initial niche market considerations. Also gauging the approximate paid traffic costs can help reveal commercial intent.
Google Keyword Planner – Straight from Google, research keyword search volume, demographics and more. A free Google AdWords account is now required to use this.
Tapping into the social stream of existing conversations, forums, blogs, twitter posts and more, can possibly uncover an existing need in the marketplace. Do you see a recurring question in forums people keep asking over and over again? Is there a product/service available to solve this problem? This could be the seed idea for your next project.
Boardreader – Browse current message board activity by topic or keyword.
Social Mention – Research a search query across multiple channels, like photos, blogs, micro-blogs and more.
BuzzSumo – Valuable information about social sharing influencers.
Understanding which channels your competitors are visible and getting attention from can really help get an idea of who finds their product/offering valuable. These tools to follow, will give general information about what specific websites are linking to your competitors. Of course, there is no way to tell if traffic from these sources convert.
Chrome SEO Plugin – A slick tool to analyze several ranking components of a webpage.
Open Site Explorer – The classic backlink analysis tool by SEOmoz.
Ahrefs – A backlink analysis tool with lots of potential.
Compete – A collection of demographic information about a website in your market.
Let’s say you found a niche with good keyword potential, active social media channels, paid advertisements and a handle on your competitor’s strategies. It’s time to create your initial Unique Selling Proposition (USP), content marketing strategy, and product offerings. Make sure to have a good understanding of what need your product/service fills, how you will market it and what the conversion goals will be.
It’s important to know that over time your niche product/service may likely need to pivot, to keep relevant in the marketplace.
Next week, we will look at the second obstacle blocking your business success, Time.