Yesterday, I was talking with Wes from Fire Avert who shared a great story that highlights an important principle of small business success. His product helps homeowners avoid kitchen fires by shutting off the stove when it’s been on too long.
He was at a trade show, working to sell his product to homeowners. It was not a good show for them. Their message wasn’t connecting with their audience the way they had hoped and expected. They had been spending a lot of money on marketing, they were flying across the country trying to get their product into the market, and they were losing the battle. Then something unexpected happened.
At the end of the unsuccessful trade show, while they were taking down their booth, a woman came up and said, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re still here. I’ve been wanting to talk to you. I work for a group that helps senior citizens with in-home care before they are put into a full-time care facility.” Literally, with tears in her eyes, she said, “Your product will allow our patients to enjoy many more months of dignity living in their own homes before needing to enter a full-time care facility."
Just like that, they found a market they hadn’t expected. Since that time, they’ve grown the business to over seven figures—all because they found their niche, as the saying goes.
So, what does this mean to “find your niche?”
In marketing terms, we call this “message to market match.” It’s the beautiful thing that happens when you communicate the right product to the right audience in the right way. When this happens, the sales friction goes down dramatically and the likelihood of your success soars. You’ve heard the saying “riches in niches.” Well, it’s true. And for most businesses it takes some time to get it right. Here are a few tips to accelerate the process:
- Be persistent and tenacious. There’s some luck in finding your niche, but luck favors those who work hard.
- Test constantly. You might be surprised by what resonates with your audience, so you must continuously test your message, holding your best-performing message as your “control” and constantly testing new things in an effort to outperform the control.
- Study your existing customer base and find commonalities among your best customers to determine who else might share those commonalities.
- Keep your eyes open for different niches. Like Wes, you might be surprised to find a niche that you weren’t expecting would demand your product or service.
One reason small business success is elusive is because we tend to try to be all things for all people. But when you narrow your focus and “find your niche,” success comes much more easily.
SBS Idea of the Day: Do you know the commonalities among your best customers? If not, take the time to study your customer base and highlight the top three commonalities. Then keep your eyes peeled for prospects that share those commonalities.