Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enterprise Nation - Niche shedworking

This week, Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation looks at the very shedworkingesque subject of niche businesses.
In his bestselling book ‘The Long Tail’ author Chris Anderson says the future of business does not lie in blockbuster hits but in niche products. Home businesses up and down the land are testimony to this. In the book he said:
"We are now a nation of niches. There are still blockbuster movies, hit TV shows and top-selling CDs but fewer events that capture the communal popular culture spirit. The action is elsewhere, with the country watching cable shows or reading blogs that play to a specific audience."

Niche is good

Anderson is right. Home businesses are starting up to cater for specific needs and a specific audience. This is good for three reasons:
* It keeps marketing costs low. In a niche business you know where your customers are and you know what they like to see and hear. No scattergun marketing; instead a personal and well-tailored approach.
* It increases income. You are a specialist/expert in your field and people will pay a margin for this.
* It strengthens customer loyalty. When you’re the only kid on the block providing a niche and specific service, you tend to keep customers as they have nowhere else to go. But no room for complacency - it’s still important to provide a good service!

Shining examples

Here are just a few examples of niche businesses. They show you can find your niche whether you’re in food, fashion or events.
* – using her own furry friends as models, Debbie Nelson started a business selling designer petwear. She’s gone on to develop her own line of parker coat for small dogs and is now planning a fashion show.
* Green Union - this is no ordinary wedding planner as Rosie Ames organizes ‘green weddings’ for couples who want to tie the knot in an eco-friendly fashion.
* The Cheese Shed (pictured top) - came about after founders Ian Wellens and James Mann asked themselves: “What if there was a website where people from far-flung parts of the country could buy fabulous westcountry cheese?” – they went on to create it, bringing joy to Westcountry cheese lovers everywhere.

If you’re starting a business, develop a specific product or idea that serves a specific audience and, if you’re growing your business, how about streamlining activity to focus on a niche end of the market.
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

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