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Extend your products, not your niche

Emma Jones believes in starting a business and then finding and focusing on your niche. But what happens when you feel the niche audience you’ve chosen could be restricting in view of its size? Then it’s time to expand your product range, as opposed to extending your niche. Emma explains.

Niche is good

When planning and starting a business, try to focus on a niche audience. Doing so will reduce your marketing costs and deepen your knowledge of customers’ desires. Take the example of a cupcake maker. Rather than starting a business to provide all forms of cupcakes to everyone across the UK, how about:

  • Providing cupcakes to customers only in your local area
  • Specialising in wedding cupcakes
  • Becoming an expert in making only red cupcakes

With a clear idea of your customer profile, you will know where to find business and how best to promote your products/service. As you become more involved in the market you’ll gain a solid understanding of market needs which comes in handy when it’s time to innovate and expand the range.

Back to the example of our cupcake maker who, let’s say, chose the option of specialising in wedding cupcakes. This business owner now wants to increase turnover and is wondering how to go about it. The options are to start producing cupcakes for other occasions to or go deeper with existing customers and expand what’s on offer. I’d recommend the latter approach. This wedding focused cake baker could increase revenue in a number of ways:

New products

  • Produce a ‘make your own cupcake’ kit and market this as an activity for hen nights!
  • Offer cooking courses to brides who want to re-live the special day in culinary style. Produce a line in Anniversary cupcakes so the couple can mark the occasion with your products every year thereafter.

Partnerships

  • Partner with others who service the same customer base and agree referral deals or affiliate arrangements. Weddings also need photographers, caterers, magicians, entertainment etc

Become an expert

  • Become the nation’s leading expert on wedding cupcakes by writing a book, starting a blog or self-publishing a magazine. Being an expert generates revenue, adds credibility and attracts new customers.

This approach of expanding what’s on offer to existing customers will increase customer loyalty and you can have fun coming up with new ideas for products and services. Stick with your niche – it will serve you well!

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’ Her next book ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ will be published in May 2010.

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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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