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Go Small, or Go Home

To many of our students, the response above makes perfect sense.

If I target everyone, that is a really big group. So if only a small percentage of that buys from me, I’ll still make money and my business will be successful.

I get it, but it turns out that by casting the net too wide, you end up catching nothing. It is impossible to please everyone or to create a business that caters to everyone’s’ needs. In trying to do so many students will either hit a wall in their market research because everyone is telling them something different, or they will create a business that is generic and doesn’t actually solve any individual’s problem.

As Simple StartUp guides, we need to think about encouraging our students to think small. Getting really narrow and specific when describing your target customer. This is called a Niche Market. It is a very small group of people with very unique needs. The key is that by meeting the unique needs of a small group of people, you are much more likely to be successful in that market.

It seems counter-intuitive, but people look for solutions to their problems, not a generic solution to a world problem. When I am working with my students, I ask them to describe the avatar of their target customer in as much detail as possible. Think of any defining feature and ask them what it looks like for their avatar. How they look, how they act, how they think, what they believe, where they live, what they buy, how much money they make, the size of the family, they type of car they drive, the brand of clothing they wear… you get the picture.

My goal is to have my students narrow down their target market to about 100 people at first. By whittling out all of the people who do not fit their target market, they should be left with about 100 people who will have a high likelihood of wanting to buy their product or service. All future efforts then are geared towards meeting the needs of that 100.

What’s important to point out to them is that other people outside of their immediate target market will buy from them, and that is great, but by focusing on their target 100, they will hopefully create very satisfied customers who will invite other friends who are similar to them to buy from your business as well. Your 100 will naturally grow over time and each business will be able to add more and more to their marketing mix to accommodate that. The key point is to start small.

What are some examples of businesses that you have seen who have a very specific niche market? Describe them for us in the Facebook Community since there is a high likelihood that we will not have heard of them before.

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