Thursday, July 9, 2015

Niche markets

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business.

     Markets continually change. Your business reflects and serves the fads and fashions of the marketplace.

     Some markets will always be there. Food, clothing, housing, transportation and communications are markets that are here to stay. In one form or another these are always there, but they change. 

     Products come and go. Whatever happened to hats for men? When was the last time you saw kerosene lamps? Hand-cranked ice cream makers? Hub caps? Typewriters? Paper dolls for kids? 

     Some of these can represent niche markets for small businesses. You doubt these markets? Just check out what's on eBay.

     Example: Catherine inherited her father's long-established business. His expertise was gas-fired furnaces, heaters, and other gas appliances. Over a long career, he had accumulated a huge inventory of parts along with manufacturer's schematics and catalogs. Catherine decided to put up a website and offer parts and reprints of the catalogs. To her surprise, she found herself involved in a healthy business. Suddenly she was the expert and filled orders arriving from all over the country. 

     Example: Elise opened her small gift shop to offer vintage collectibles and other items. She had out-of-date board games and puzzles, reconditioned typewriters, well made kitchenware no longer available, furniture from the 1950s and 60s, and an array of other items. Hers is a niche business that attracts visitors, both in person and on her website. 

     Example: Tom sells and repairs old vacuum cleaners. He also does a healthy business selling parts. He won't handle vacuums made less than 25 or so years ago--they are made with plastic parts, contrasted with the metal parts used in earlier years. In addition to keeping old vacuums in good working order for a circle of clients, he offers parts on the net. 

     Looking to start a business? Consider addressing niche markets. Using today's social media, you can reach out far and wide to make sales. And shipping is no problem at all these days.

     Whatever you do, make certain you do a business plan first. How big is the market and what is your competition?      

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