It's not about a “good" or "bad" time when it comes to starting your own business. It's about knowing it's time to start doing what you KNOW you're good at and love to do. Over 600,000 new businesses start annually, but the number that close is nearly the same- with 20% of new businesses failing in their first year. The causes of early failure, including lack of experience and capital, unexpected growth, and lack of skills contribute to about half of all startups posting that unfortunate "Out Of Business" notice after five years.
As kids, we heard the question over and over, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Finding your business niche requires the same, basic, start-from-the-beginning approach.
Profit and Passion:
Five steps to establish, market and maintain your business niche
If no niche exists, you are able to create one.
Research the culture, geography, competition and current and potential client base. Regardless of your passion, your business venture remains a fantasy without a clear understanding of where you work, the problems your business solves, how your business fits in, and your target customers.
Now that you have a niche: cultivate your customers.
Is your customer base mostly young, professional, and dependent on fast information tied to their technology? Are they retired, with more time, money and leisure to peruse your products and services? Every client group needs a customized marketing strategy. Whether it's flyers and business cards or tweets and Instagram postings, your niche needs exposure to generate capital.
Do this for the love of the job first.
It's lonely going out on your own at the start. Long hours, money going out for expenses and little, if any, coming in, and you’re a proud owner who's also the marketing director, IT person, office manager, HR director, finance director, plumber, trash hauler and light bulb changer; not to mention person with other interests. Sticking with this niche means you want this above all else in life right now.
Time and money matter but perseverance comes first.
Setbacks are temporary, and turn to failures when you don't learn from them and move forward. Providing yourself sufficient funds to get through the startup period is important; so is setting aside time to understand where your business works in the current climate. Perseverance is the ability to see the situation through to the next successful stage, regardless of criticism or crisis. It's not what's said or what happens that matters as much as how you handle it and move forward.
Test, test, test the market; prepare to fail, and then succeed.
When you're ready, advertise your business and set up a website landing page for specially-priced pre-sale offerings. This provides the opportunity to test the market's interest in your business, generate sales and receive feedback before opening your inventory to all clients. Prepare for disappointment if no one's interested; it means starting over with new, untried ideas, taking a chance on implementing a riskier but more appealing marketing strategy. Also, prepare for extreme success: selling out of products, overwhelming back orders and the head-shaking success rush that either buries your business under too-great expectations, or propels you forward from a niche to a national success story.