According to the SBA (Small Business Administration,) there were 27.9 million small businesses in the United States in 2010. Most likely that number hasn’t decreased. Small businesses account for 48% of the private sector workforce, that’s 56.8 million people. What this translates to is there’s a lot of competition, and it’s easy for a business to get lost. When competition reaches nearly unfathomable numbers, it’s important to identify your place in the market, your small business niche.
Where to Begin
Start by identifying what you’re best at. Don’t offer products because it’s expected, offer what you know is the best damn thing you do. Why offer products that you’re okay at? What message does it send potential clients when they see you offer products that are just okay?
American business people are often driven to take on more than might be advisable. People are told, “Go big or stay at home!” which isn’t always the best advice for a small biz. Let’s change the narrative to think small and beat them all. What is your best bet?
Ask the following:
- What is my business good at?
- What do we love to do?
- How does my business differ from the competition?
- What has competition missed?
- What can we do better than the competition?
Limit the Number of Offerings
Think small. For example, rather than offer cleaning supplies for the modern office, narrow it to cleaning supplies for office electronics, or better still, the best keyboard cleaner you’ll ever use. Of course, you must have an excellent product or service to compete, but you don’t have to have twenty great products to begin with.
Shrink the Competition
The more products and services you offer the more competition you invite. Don’t dive headfirst into the deep end of the pool, start in the shallow end and work your way up.
Narrow the Search
In the example above based on office cleaning products I searched the following:
- Office cleaning supplies – 7.8 million hits
- Cleaning supplies for electronics – 5.6 million
- Keyboard cleaners – 2.6 million
- Mac keyboard cleaner – 576,000
Target Your Audience
Define your market by decreasing your competition and narrowing your niche.
Geographics – Rather than compete internationally consider starting out offering your products in a smaller arena.
Demographics – The more specific your target demographic is, the less competition and the easier it becomes to reach the audience.
Price – Pricing your product in a niche outside of the competition doesn’t always mean selling for less. It could mean a higher priced exclusive product.
Distribution – Can the delivery of your product be a niche unto itself? Not only how the product gets to the consumer but how fast, and how well it’s packaged make a difference.
Get to First Base First
A walk to first base is better than a swing and a miss. Not every small business is going to hit a home run their first at bat, nor do you want to. Too much business too soon isn’t always a good thing. Preparing for Sudden Business Growth.
Do One Thing Great Before Your Take on the Next
Just because a small business begins with limited offerings doesn’t mean it can’t expand and grow as the opportunity and preparation converge. In 1985 TKO Graphix began installing vinyl graphics on fleet vehicles mostly tractor trailers today we have TKO Signs and TKO Marketing Solutions offering hundreds of products. However, we didn’t do this overnight.
Do You Know What You Love?
Brainstorm with your team about what you’re best at and what you love. Search the competition for marketing placement they might have missed. Discuss who you want to reach, where they are, and how to attract them. Narrow the search to expand your reach.