When it comes to starting a new business, an
entrepreneur is probably most excited about
the idea or the new market potential of a
service/product — and less excited about
actually writing a great business plan. But if you’re able to translate that energy and excitement about your new venture onto the pages of your business plan, you’ll be off to a great start in the business planning process.
The first step of crafting an outstanding plan is identifying and defining the unique qualities about the venture and clearly define what sets it apart from the competition. Combining your enthusiasm for the product/service and recognizing a unique niche market are the first ingredients of writing a fantastic plan that will set you apart from others.
There are great resources offered by the experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) when getting started with forming a new venture, and the following are some helpful hints to help your business plan stand out from others by identifying a target market and building a niche for your business.
Be clear about what you’re offering
What is it that you’re really selling? If you’re in an industry where there are many competitors or similar types of ventures, what makes yours unique? You should be able to identify and describe the unique experience that your customer would have. Be specific about the features that set your business apart from the rest.
Some things to help when thinking about this include:
– What need(s) your product/service fulfills
– Benefits differentiators that will help your business stand out from the competition
Learn to strategize
In the spirit of clearly defining what it is that you’re selling, it’s important to keep in mind that it is better to be strategic and excel in a few market segments rather than becoming a jack-of-all-trades. Being able to do certain key things really well is better than an entrepreneur who does a little bit of everything without having a strong handle on any one element—especially if you’re a small business.
If your business offers a select number of very specialized products/services, not only will it be easier to define a specific marketing strategy, your business will essentially attract a niche market because of that specialization. This will also give the business and its employees the ability to put all of their efforts into excelling at those specific elements. Being a subject matter expert in your businesses’ market will help not only in the business planning process, but can help drive sales and propel the business towards success.
Identifying your niche
Based on a business owner’s market knowledge and experience, a niche can usually be identified. If you’re starting a new venture in a brand-new market, you may want to conduct a market survey with potential customers to help you identify that niche.
Conducting in-depth market research will also help you to understand what currently exists in the marketplace and ultimately, what areas are underserved that (this could be a target market to focus your business on).
Identifying these opportunities and niche markets will help you in the business planning process, and is essential for positioning a new business to be successful.
To read more from the SBA about writing a business plan and finding a niche, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/finding-niche-make-your-business-plan-stand-out.
It can be difficult to objectively step back from your business idea and examine the market opportunities as a whole. Please share your ideas and suggestions for effectively finding a niche audience and researching market opportunities.
Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!