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A niche business

In best-selling book ‘The Long Tail’ author Chris Anderson says the future of business does not lie in blockbuster hits but in niche products. Home businesses up and down the land are testimony to this. Emma Jones looks at why niche is good and showcases a few shining examples.

An authoritative source

Chris Anderson has achieved fame (and possibly a small fortune) through his excellent book that started the conversation on the power of being a niche business. In it he said: “We are now a nation of niches. There are still blockbuster movies, hit TV shows and top-selling CDs but fewer events that capture the communal popular culture spirit. The action is elsewhere, with the country watching cable shows or reading blogs that play to a specific audience.”

Niche is good

Anderson is right. Home businesses are starting up to cater for specific needs and a specific audience. This is good for three reasons:

It keeps marketing costs low. In a niche business you know where your customers are and you know what they like to see and hear. No scattergun marketing; instead a personal and well-tailored approach.

It increases income. You are a specialist/expert in your field and people will pay a margin for this.

It strengthens customer loyalty. When you’re the only kid on the block providing a niche and specific service, you tend to keep customers as they have nowhere else to go. But no room for complacency – it’s still important to provide a good service!

Shining examples

Here are just a few examples of niche businesses. They show you can find your niche whether you’re in food, fashion or events.

Designer-petwear.co.uk – using her own furry friends as models, Debbie Nelson started a business

Green Union – this is no ordinary wedding planner as Rosie Ames organizes ‘green weddings’ for couples who want to tie the knot in an eco-friendly fashion.

The Cheese Shed – came about after founders Ian Wellens and James Mann asked themselves: “What if there was a website where people from far-flung parts of the country could buy fabulous westcountry cheese?” – they went on to create it, bringing joy to Westcountry cheese lovers everywhere.

If you’re starting a business, develop a specific product or idea that serves a specific audience and, if you’re growing your business, how about streamlining activity to focus on a niche end of the market.

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About the Author: Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home

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About Emma Jones

Emma Jones is Founder and Editor of Enterprise Nation, the home business website. She has successfully started two businesses from home offices in London, Manchester and rural Shropshire. Following a career with an international accountancy firm, Emma started her first home based business at the age of 27 and successfully sold it just 15 months after launch. Redbrick Enterprises Ltd was founded in 2002 to advise the public sector on effective homeworking. Spotting a gap in the market to provide information and inspiration to homeworkers, Emma launched Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com], the home business website, in January 2006. The website is a free resource for people starting and growing a business at home and has a readership of more than 390,000 people. As well as site content, there is also a free fortnightly e-newsletter and podcast. Emma’s first book on how to start a business from home Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home will be published by Harriman House in May 2008.

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