In my previous post I addressed the bare necessities that are involved in any internet entrepreneurial endeavor, however with these thoughts in mind I believe a very important part of beginning any venture is to find your niche. Many entrepreneurs have described the same old story that everyone has heard: I started my business, thought it was going to be great because many friends and family seemed interested, and then BOOM no one wanted my product or service and the extent of my sales were to those who cheered me on from the beginning. These types of stories, more or less, are very common upon those stepping into a venture for the first time, or even those who just don’t thoroughly analyze their market. With this post I want to focus on just a few tips and key reminders that allow any internet entrepreneur to begin their endeavor with the best insight as possible.
As stated before, a great way to begin topic searching is to identify your interests and passions. Although this could be something you believe you already have done, it’s great to actually write out your top ten interests and visually look at them on paper. Not every interest is going to be an absolute fit, however giving yourself some parameters in which to identify and hone in on a specific idea is the key.
From the list of topics that you’ve created, the next step is to begin identifying problems that can be solved within each topic. In order for any business to profit there must be a problem that’s being solved in which you can target your customers with. Relating to an online endeavor, things such as a new subscription, utility, manufacturer, wholesale merchant (or merchant) are all liable business models in which each business could be ran through the internet. The real trick is to finding a plausible and customer driven solution to whatever problem you’re solving, within your chosen field. With your ten topics the process of finding customer-driven solutions for customers’ problems will narrow down your potential venture options ultimately leading you to a few ideas. Through your narrowing process a great way to identify problems is through having conversations with those outside your immediate circle. Although your friends and family will have great input, finding your true customer solution/product is most likely going to be analyzed the best with those who aren’t the closest to. Another easy way to gain more knowledge on your topic is through online forums and discussion boards. What are people saying about this field and topic? What possible solutions could you bring to nearly any problem people are experiencing? Lastly- Check in on those keywords with Google AdWords to help find pain points within previously searched phrases.
When you believe you may have found your solution, the next step is check out your competition. Competition will always be there, and it isn’t always a negative thing either. Competition can possibly lead you to creating a solution that you may never thought of, or even show you a gap in which you can fill within that specific market. Begin studying your competition, and researching all possible competitors that are playing in the same field as you are. Considering you’re an online business, this gives a great insight to seeing what’s working and not working with other competitors webpages. It also gives you an opportunity to see what you like and dislike about the customer perspective of other businesses. Lack of quality and transparency are easily seen from a mile awhile and these “minor” details could be a great place to capitalize.
Once you’ve nearly concluded your potential idea, checking the market is your next step. Websites like ClickBank provide a great way to see what’s already out there being sold and what’s lacking. If your search deems that no one is buying your product or anything related, it’s possible that your idea has already been exhausted or it’s your time to shine with creating a new market. If your searches show that there are a decent amount of products but not an overbearing amount, then this could be a great indicator that your product will sell. Keep in mind that you will always be developing your edge on whatever niche you chose, and ultimately you won’t be copying the exact product or business of your competitor.
The final step is to test your idea and solution. The easiest way to do this in my opinion is to set up a landing page for potential pre-sales of whatever product your developing. Begin driving traffic to this page with a small amount of paid advertising through whatever platform you chose- Facebook offers very easy and simple advertising and also gives you an opportunity to create social media content revolving around your new idea and solution. If you fail to receive any pre-sales this could always mean a number of things so giving your idea time and patience is always key. Begin looking at potential barriers that you’re facing with your solution. Through simple A/B split testing you can begin to find out what’s converting and narrow down those barriers.
When you finally have your niche it becomes clearer as to what the next steps are. Developing that full-fledged website should be priority along with outlining a clear business model. Keep in mind that there is never a perfect process and any successful venture takes a lot of patience!
Great post, Alex. Finding your niche is so important. If there is an established market with top players already, that doesn’t mean there is no option for you. Creating your own niche and revolutionizing a market can be a game changer. Netflix did it, Apple did, its a common theme.