Billy Elliot One of few

Earlier this week we came across some interesting facts that made us think about the advantages of being in a niche. To be one of few makes you more easily noticed – but it can also mean bigger difficulty in finding an audience. In business and retail this means market research is important; it means there is less flexibility than if you cater for all. Most importantly though, it means there is bigger opportunity to succeed. Market research done, product quality controlled, workload managed, niche defined – the audience is up for grabs. Without a tightly defined target audience, without a niche that differentiates you from the rest, chances are you’ll be just another fish in the sea.

But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Your idea doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, your product doesn’t have to be unique.  But it must be noticeable or memorable. Find a way of standing out either by quality or range.

If you’re one of four sandwich shops on a high street, take a step back and think – what can I do differently? Are they all doing standard fillings such as ham and cheese, chicken and bacon or smoked salmon? Try changing yours up. Have a look at trends in the market or ask your customers for inspiration. Why not look to a different cuisine for ideas? Or why not change your breads, your packaging, your offers. Try doing a weekly or daily special – a great way of testing a product with your customers.

By making sure you are different from the other sandwich shops, you are creating a niche for yourself. Why not offer a larger version of some of your sandwiches – calling them Manwiches?

If you’re a pub, try offering different beers to your closest neighbours. Give your customers a reason to choose you over your competitors. Set yourself apart as e.g. a micro brewery maven, and use this in your marketing.

Choose a brand persona and build around it. It can be as simple as ‘the friendliest shop in Blighty!’ – then stick a smile on yourself and your employees and make the statement true.

And the fact we read? American men taller than 7 feet have a roughly 1 in 6 chance of playing in the NBA. Compare that to the 1 in 100’000 that relates to anyone of average height, it’s a pretty impressive number! Therefore – stand out, have a narrow focus and follow through.

Edit: Seth Godin emphasised the point further in this brilliant post – Almost No One. Don’t try to cater for all. It is unrealistic and impossible. Find your audience and serve them well.