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Beat Out the Big-Business Bully With a Niche
By: Mark E. Brown
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One key question I ask my clients is, “What keeps you up at night?” and for my small business clients the answer is usually the same: “I don’t know how to compete with the big guys moving in.” 

Unfortunately, this is a legitimate risk for just about any small-to-midsize company. Restaurants, ad agencies, banks, retailers, accounting firms, grocery stores; hardly any industry is immune from large-company competition. So what is the answer to beat back the big bad bully? Focus on a niche, even if it means changing your entire strategy.

As businesspeople, we are taught that the larger the market, the greater the opportunity. This makes sense generally, but when faced with larger competitors who can service that large market, you need to consider counterintuitive measures.

You will stand a better chance at succeeding by offering something specific to a smaller group of customers who have unmet needs and wants. Of course, don’t niche yourself into oblivion by choosing a market that is much too small to be profitable. With a little creativity you can find that sweet spot that makes you the first choice in your customer’s eyes.

For example, it is almost impossible to find a local office supply store anymore. The big guys, Office Depot, Staples, and Office Max, dominate the market. It makes no sense at all to try to compete with these industry big shots. But what do you do if that is your business and one of them is moving in down the road?

Well, instead of selling office supplies, sell ink refills. Consider ink refills: a large market, yet one that is specific and highly profitable. No matter what type of business you have, a better defined niche resides within it. If you have a CPA firm, niche down into handling only law firms. Instead of selling home decorating items, become a picture frame shop. 

When the niche you are considering has a very small market, consider combining a few products or services that are complimentary and broaden the target market. If you are selling ink refills, add a line of printers and scanners.

The smaller and deeper the market that you service, the more profitable you can be.  Become the expert in a niche and when people want to buy, they will buy from you.

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About the Author

Mark E. Brown is a personal branding expert, professional speaker, and business growth advisor. He has owned a number of award winning ad agencies and is the founder of Mark Brown Strategies, a communications and marketing agency. You can follow Mark on Twitter and on Linkedin.  

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