For anyone who’s been in business, you know the temptation of wanting to do anything to bring in the dollars. Yet there is real value in being “niche” – carving out a segment that’s just yours.
I saw a great example of this recently, with publisher “A Book Apart“. Their business produces “Brief books for people who make websites”. It’s very specific – but also very easy to market. It is PR friendly, it’s easy to find the target market, it ha got built in repeat business (if someone finds one book useful, they’ll buy more) and it’s easy to talk about and spread the word.
This last point is so critical. I’ve never been involved in marketing anything where word of mouth wasn’t critical. In fact, for most businesses, it’s the number one source of new business. So if your business is hard to describe, hard to pin down, it’s hard for others to spread the word about.
Niche is scary. But less that it used to be, thanks to the Internet. So if you’re pondering starting a business, and you’ve got a cool enough idea, there’s a lot to be said for finding your niche and sticking to it.