To Succeed in Business, Find a Niche

Serving a specialty clientele is an efficient way to increase your market share.

By: Chia-Li Chien | Published 08/23/2010


When it comes to business decisions about marketing, there are plenty of tools at your disposal. However, few business owners intuitively know how to do strategic marketing. One way is to find a niche for your product or service. That allows you to take advantage of pull marketing rather than push marketing.

Let's review:

* Push Marketing is hunting or fishing for your potential buyers, telling them what you do. Examples are advertisements, TV commercials, direct-mail campaigns, brochures, websites and business cards.

* Pull Marketing is pulling all resources to you. Basically, your buyers seek you out.

The best way to effectively deploy pull marketing is to become a "niche-aholic." Your business can't be all things to all people; you have to be very specific about what problem you are resolving for your buyers and clients. Think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers. Who are they? Let's examine the types of niches.

1. Product/service niche. Your product or service is unique. An example would be a micro camera that takes pictures of bacteria for medical research.

Glen Gould, founder and CEO of Inspiration Agents Inc., has built four multimillion-dollar enterprises from scratch over the past 25 years. When he started Inspiration Agents in 2005, he knew the value of having a niche. Gould successfully used a service niche and an industry niche. Inspiration Agents' service niche is "networking," and his firm specializes in helping members of the financial industry and chambers of commerce around the Southeast region of the United States. This results in strong pull marketing for Gould's business. People seek him out for his specialty niche.

2. Demographic niche. Your product or service is a great fit for a specific demographic. It might be appropriate for families, women, professionals ages 35 to 45, retirees or baby boomers.

Natalie Sisson founded WomanzWorld, whose tagline is "The Ultimate Resource for Female Entrepreneurs." She also co-founded ConnectionPoint Systems, creators of FundRazr, a social commerce application for Facebook. Her marketing services niche is both female entrepreneurs and startups.

3. Industry niche. Your product or service is specific to a particular industry. For example, you might be a business attorney who specializes in the construction industry.

Cathy Critz is CEO of Solutions FYS Inc., a boutique consulting firm specializing in helping manufacturers get certified in ISO 9001 and ISO 1400. She services only manufacturers, helping them not only to get their certification, but also to streamline their internal processes and shape up their bottom line.

Businesses that focus on a niche market address the need for a product or service that is not being met by mainstream providers. This creates a strong pull toward your business among prospective customers and clients. This also establishes a business as being an expert in its own industry.

At the end of the day, you can't be all things to all people. Consider the following when revisiting your marketing niches:

1. Pick your battle and go deep. No matter what your service or product offerings are, take a look at current and future trends, the issues or problems your buyers are facing and the urgency of their needs. Then take your pick horizontally or vertically deep inside that industry. For example, Critz consults within the manufacturing business, which includes nonprofit manufacturers such as National Industries of the Blind.

2. Select three to five niches to focus on. Each business should focus on three to five niches based on its core offering. For example, Gould's niche is "networking," but within that niche, he focuses on the financial industry and the Southeast region.

So if you want to increase your market share, revenue or bottom line, revisit your market niche. Settling on a niche will lay the foundation for your business to create value for you.


Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps women entrepreneurs to convert their business into meaningful personal wealth.  She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for & Fox Business online.   She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops.  She can be reached at or


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