To niche market or not to niche market . . . that is the question. If you are first-time new business owner, then niche marketing is the way to go. Not only will it drive traffic to your website, it will also give you the most bang for your buck.

However, when you are a small business owner just starting out, niche marketing may seem counter-intuitive. After all, marketing to a larger group of people will net more sales, right?

As a small business start up consultant, getting my clients to focus on a specific niche market is one of the most challenging parts of my job. Often, they resist, saying, “I don’t want to restrict my market because if I do I’ll get fewer sales.” “Do you have an unlimited supply of dollars?” I ask them, “Because you’ll need millions to market to a broad market group.”

Is it okay with you if I save you months of agony and millions of dollars?

Good! Here are the three things every first-time small business owner must know before they market to their niche group.

Pre-marketing Niche Checklist

1. Do you know who isn’t in your target market?

Ruling out who isn’t in your niche is a fun way to get around the resistance many first-time small business owners have to narrowing their niche. Go crazy here. Consider your niche. Now, list all the things you know for certain about who your niche isn’t. How old aren’t they? Where don’t they live? What kind of a lifestyle don’t they engage in? Where don’t they hang out, live, or eat. What don’t they buy? What luxuries don’t they want? What aren’t they saving for? What product or service don’t they need you to supply?

This approach easily and effortlessly narrows the market. Besides that, it’s creative and fun. After answering this question, you will be much closer to determining who your niche market is and more open to focusing your business to serve a specialized, smaller niche group.

2. What problem does your niche have that your competitors already solve?

In all my years of helping women start up businesses, every time I’ve ask the question, “What product or service does your niche need,” they’ve predictably responded with what product or service they are excited about rolling out. They haven’t a clue as to what their competitors already offer. Far worse . . . they don’t know what their niche actually needs.

To keep the focus off my client’s need and on her niche’s need, I’ve found focusing on her niche market’s competition to be a great work-around solution.

Engaging in market research at this stage of the start-up process gives you the inside scoop on your competition. You’ll come to know were the gaps are, and begin to formulate solutions. As you examine each of your competitors write down the answers to these questions:

+What products and services do they offer?

+What problems do you think they’re solving?

+How would you solve this very same problem?

Armed with the answers to these questions, you are ready to position your solutions for success.

3. What solution is your niche market willing to buy?

This question is designed to shift your thinking from what you are selling to what your niche market is buying. What are they willing to pay for? How much are they willing to spend? Why do they want it? Knowing the answer to these three questions puts you in a powerful marketing position.

From this position, you can now focus your energy and resources on developing specific solutions that you know will be relevant and meaningful to your niche group. Ones you know they are willing to buy and want.