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By Wendy Stanton

Recognizing and Understanding your Niche

Recognizing and Understanding your Niche

Standing out in a Global Market

The internet and technology have opened up an entire new world of products, ideas and supply chains. With the magic of search engines, you can be guaranteed to find someone out there already doing what you do.

With all of the competition and changes in how your product is communicated to your customers, how do you survive and indeed thrive? One way to prosper in this uncertain world is to recognize your niche and understand how you can take advantage of it.

The biggest challenge is to recognize the unique perspective your company and product have on the marketplace. Once you step away from daily operation and take the time to evaluate your business, it's much easier to see where exactly you fit in.

Here are some ways to help identify your niche

1) If you haven't already done so, dust off your old business plan (remember that?) and go through the exercise of identifying all of the parts of your business. Give yourself a pat on the back for things that went as planned and reflect on those that did not. No need to dwell too much on that old plan, but take the time to make some edits and rework the components that no longer fit your model. You might also find aspects of your business that got lost or forgotten, but are key to your original passion for starting a business. By looking over and re-evaluating, you can identify your next steps and perhaps find that unique characteristic that will make you shine in a crowded market.

2) Another good exercise is to take a look at your least profitable and least likable customers, the ones that don't make you a whole lot of money or are aggravating, but who keep coming back. Why do they choose your business? What do they like about your company? Even if it's something as simple as familiarity, ease of doing business with you and brand loyalty, find out the why, and you should be able to use that information to gain better, more profitable customers. If you can please the most challenging of customers, how can you use the processes of those transactions to grow the rest of your client base?

3) Identify unique products or services that are not only your top sellers, but also top profit earners. How can they be leveraged into expanding other products to your existing client base and offered to new clients? How can they be marketed, modified or repackaged to set you apart?

4) Find your competitors and examine their products and services. Identify your similarities and differences and how they can help you. What things do you do better? What things do you do that need improvement? What perspective does their online presence present and how does that differ?

Remember, to remain a leader, the above examination bears repeating periodically to see how your business has changed and grown or more importantly, not.

Taking the time to look at your business and products, should give you the ability to identify how you fit in and how you can take advantage of your niche. Embrace your uniqueness to capture that part of the marketplace that is looking for someone exactly like you.

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