Your niche is your lifeline. Without it, your business is dead in the water. Many inexperienced marketers and entrepreneurs declare niches that are too broad to have commercial value, and so the advice constantly given to newbies is ignored when it "fails." It is not the advice that fails, but the business person who fails to understand what a niche is.
Here are four easy steps to finding your niche:
Choose a field
Much debate exists over whether you should choose a niche you enjoy or whether you should choose only what appears to have the best chance of success. Sure, it'd be great to do what you enjoy all day, but a business is not necessarily a hobby. At the same time, it'd be great to make money from your business, but life would be rather droll frustrating if you hated what you were doing. The best way to decide what product niche you'll be going into is to first choose a broad field that interests you and drill down from there.
Fill a void
Once you've chosen a field - say, bowling - you now have to fill a void. Talk to bowlers and other core customers to find out what they feel is missing and brainstorm ways in which you can provide a product or service to cater to their needs and desires. What you're really doing is identifying a market, seeking high demand with little to no supply.
Research your market
During your interviews, you might discover several potential markets. Your next step is to identify whether they're economically feasible as lucrative businesses. Complete market research by learning what it will take, both in financial and physical resources, to get your products in the hands of your customers. Who will be your supplier? Who handles fulfillment and customer service? Define a price.
Next, test your market to see if it will be lucrative. If you're marketing online, perform keyword research to see what search terms people are using to find your products and services. Put up a quick e-mail capture web page (a squeeze page) and spend a couple hundred dollars in keyword advertising for your products and services. When visitors get to your website, your web page should explain that your products and services will be available soon and request their names and e-mail addresses to sign up for your waiting list. You can then approximate sign-ups to purchases to determine if you've chosen a good market. Your next step in testing could be to send out direct-mail postcard campaigns with an offer that leads to your e-mail sign-up form. Knowing you have an excellent market to tap into is vital to securing funding and for creating your business plan, which is the next step. All of this can be done for under $1,000.
Finding your niche takes patience and research, and sometimes even a monetary investment, but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you can identify the perfect niche, you'll be positioned for the spoils of wealth early on. Good luck!