Everyone is not your customer.

Seth Godin gets it right here (truth be told, his advice is pretty solid all around). Most businesses try to please everyone from the get-go, and straddling market segments is one of the worst things you can do for a fledgling business. You will do yourself a favor if you take the time to focus and find your niche.

But, how do you do that? Well, Forbes recommends that you carve out a strategy for developing your strategy (strategy-ception, if you will). By adding discipline to your brainstorming process, you are more likely to add to your success by wasting less time and more quickly pivoting from one idea to another. If you log an idea or two a day, you can review them all together and quickly sift through the junk, or combine incomplete ideas. Aside from changing the way you brainstorm, here is a list of 7 Steps to Defining Your Niche Market (more detail found here):

  1. Make a wish list.
  2. Focus.
  3. Describe the customer’s worldview.
  4. Synthesize.
  5. Evaluate.
  6. Test.
  7. Go for it!

The Catch 22 is this: in order for your startup to get funding from a VC, you must be able to show how you can scale your business to appeal to a large audience. The key here is to understand what your killers would be, and make a plan to overcome them. When seeking funding from VCs, angels, your mom, etc. you want to be able to show them that you have a well-designed plan. Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful business plan, well executed projections that clearly illustrate how money and metrics align, and a strong management team. It wouldn’t hurt to have a part of your pitch designated to the exit options for the investors as well… (more details here). Nail these things, and you will no doubt enjoy success with your niche business.

Don’t believe me? Check out these crazy-niche, borderline bizarre startups that are out there killing it here.


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