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The Importance Of Niches When Positioning Your Business

Apr 16, 2008
A book was published recently, and received great acclaim, entitled "Niche and Grow Rich". What a brilliant title! It is a play on the title of Napoleon Hill's famous book "Think and Grow Rich" which is probably the greatest Self Help book ever written. It was certainly the first and the best-selling one. Well, "Niche and Grow Rich" is along the same lines and it will probably become as legendary in marketing circles as Napoleon Hill's book is to get-rich-quick schemers everywhere.

What the book "Niche and Grow Rich" by Jennifer Basye Sander teaches is that you can sell ice to Eskimos if you market to a niche. If you find there are Eskimos in Alaskan cities who long for their icy ancestral homes, I bet you could sell them ice! See? A detribalized Eskimo with longings for the icy wastes is a niche, a very small one but a niche nonetheless. Obviously by catering to this very exclusive market your prices will be high because you are a specialist.

There are specific techniques for finding and serving a niche. It is fairly simple but will require some effort. First of all you have to identify a group of people that have a specific need for a product or service. You then customize the product or service so that it matches the niche requirements perfectly in terms of needs, wants and desires. For instance, my cousin owns a coffee shop near a college campus. The students have a choice of going to the local Starbucks nearby or to his coffee. Nine times out of ten they choose his shop.

This is because my cousin caters to the students exclusively and consistently. He provides free WiFi, gives out free snacks and he is open 24 hours a day during finals week. He has bulletin boards on the walls where fraternities and sororities can post notices about events and students can put up advertisements. He allows student groups and committees hold meetings in the shop. My cousin hires a student to choose and buy the music he plays in the shop so it will be suitable for the students and he lets campus radio play during peak times. Suffice it to say that the local Starbucks is not doing too well by comparison to my cousin's shop.

It's simple to identify and serve a niche market but it's not easy. Ask my cousin. He has to make sure he never becomes ambitious with his menu (students have very limited wants when it comes to food) and he has to ensure that his prices are super-competitive while still allowing him to make a good profit. The decor has to be suitable, the staff must be able to work with students (many of them are students themselves) and he must not alienate anyone in his niche market. It takes concentration and affirmation every day, according to my cousin. He should know; he has been running this coffee shop successfully for over twenty years.
About the Author
James Copper is a writer for http://www.bigstrategies.co.uk
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