Trying to boil the ocean? Stop! Every business needs a niche.
Business start ups often result from unhappy employees going off to start their own venture. If most new businesses come with lessons from the businesses that came before them, why do most start-ups fail?
The easiest way to start a business is to take what you’ve learned or what you see your competitors doing, and replicate it. It’s an instant start up model. This is part of the reason franchises work. We find a formula and repeat it, ad nauseum. If this is fool proof, why do most new businesses fail?
I can’t list here all of the reasons I think businesses fail, but I tell you a good few reasons you may not have considered.
Why you fail…
1. Fear of Failure Leads to No Innovation
Out of your fear of failing, you don’t do anything innovative. You copy, repeat, copy, repeat. Then you end up in a commodity game… a lose-lose situation where even buyers lose because in the hopes of getting the best price, they drive down quality.
2. Trying to Say It All, You Say Nothing
When revenue is scarce during your start up stage, you fear losing any customer in the market. You cast a wide net and offer every product/service you know how to offer. You try to do it all. In an effort to tell the world about all the services/products you offer, you don’t leave any one lasting message about any one product/service. Your business is a blur against the competition and blending in is a bad thing.
3. Being Unique Opens You Up To Rejection
When your name is on the sign outside the shop everyone knows who’s responsible. Doing the things you know in your gut are crucial to success means putting the things you believe in to the test. Should they fail, you fear what that means about you.
In fearing failure, you set yourself up for failure.
Last I heard, 95% of businesses fail in their first five years. When I course through the reasons why, I find each is about fear. And I’m not talking about assessing risk and choosing not to take a risk that is too great. I’m talking about personal fear.
If you’re an entrepreneur you need to ask yourself if your personal fear is causing you to fail. Based on fear are you avoiding innovation, saying nothing meaningful, and hiding your unique value proposition?
Here’s what you must do
1. Realize that individuals with specializations are highly sought after and usually paid more. No one wants to pay a premium rate for a generalist. So innovate your way out of the mud, out of the blur of competitive offerings. What have you always hated about your industry? If you can solve the problem you’ve always hated, chances are your innovation will please many others too.
2. Be brave and direct. Pick one thing, stick with it. Instead of a full service spa, open an eyebrow bar. Instead of handyman, be the fridge repair guru. When you’re trying to make a splash in any market (by the way, most markets are saturated with competition in North American), imagine how easy it can be to market one thing.
3. Put yourself out there. Be the unique you that differentiates your business. Wear your differentiating quality loud and proud. Your confidence will be infectious. If you trust yourself, your clients will trust you. Hiding your uniqueness only means the buyers desperate for something new will never find you.
There are steps that will make finding and communicating your niche a lot easier. Ask yourself some of these questions, you might find the ideal niche for your business….
- Can I offer a locally focused product/service?
- What are my competitors doing poorly and can I fix it?
- What are my competitors doing well and can I amalgamate a few features to create a new product/service?
- What is one of my highly popular products/services that I should promote more aggressively/exclusively?
- What already highly popular product/service do I offer that I can improve or alter to create a unique differentiation?
Most importantly, try working with a mentor that is 10 – 15 years ahead of you OR hire a competent business coach! I hope this helps. 😉