If someone asked you to name the one thing your company does exceptionally well, what would your answer be?
If your response takes more than a minute and involves counting things off on your fingers and toes, you may have a problem. One of the most common traps small business owners fall into is going too broad with their products and services. This is an impractical strategy that quickly burns through limited resources like time, energy and money. So long as you are trying to be the best at everything it is very difficult to become the best at anything.
Stop trying to think BIG and instead, focus on identifying that one thing your company does BEST.
This one thing represents your BIG opportunity. You cannot possibly do everything and compete with everyone so finding your niche is integral to driving your business forward. When you know your niche, you will be able to:
- Use your time and money effectively,
- Clearly describe what you do and sell,
- Set yourself apart from the competition, and
- Target your marketing at a precise audience.
I use the example of two restaurants that opened in my neighbourhood at the same time. The first place had a four-page menu that included authentic Italian cuisine, Greek dishes, and common pub fare like chicken wings. It went bankrupt in less than a year. Everything tasted great but I never picked that restaurant. When I wanted Italian, I went to an “Italian place”. When I wanted Greek, I went to a “Greek place”. And when I wanted chicken wings, I went to a pub.
The second place served only pizza and salads, but they made everything in a brick-oven, used local-sourced ingredients, and offered gluten-free crusts. I felt less guilty about feeding the kids “healthy” pizza so this place became a go-to option for family dinners and take-out. Ten years later, this restaurant now has three locations and an expanded menu that includes specialty desserts, like homemade s’mores, that are made in the brick oven.
Finding your niche is not about limiting your business; it is about focusing so that you can use your resources wisely. Over time, a niche business can grow by expanding in ways that still align with its original purpose. Scaling upwards is easier when you are working with a smaller, more defined set of products or services.
Business success is not dependent on being the best at everything. It is dependent on being the best at something that you know people want. Find your niche. Stay focused. Work hard.
This article was written by Kim Scaravelli. She is the Founder and CEO of Trust Communications Inc. and has 25+ years of business success under her belt. When asked about what her company does, she proudly says, “We are an instructional design firm. We are the BEST at helping clients adapt existing training materials for online delivery.” If this is something your company needs to do, email Trust Communications.