I don’t remember exactly where and when I first heard that phrase, but I do remember thinking to myself that the line sounds a lot better with the American pronunciation so that “niches” rhymes with “riches.” Pronunciation aside, this really is a lesson that first time business owners — and that includes your online business — should really take to heart.
When many of us strike out on our own for the first time, we enter the business world with this grand vision of what we want to accomplish. We dream of becoming the next Apple, the next Facebook, or the next Warren Buffett. And while you may have that potential inside, you need to start with a vision that makes more sense in the short term.
The Startup Mentality
Consider some of the most successful Internet startups in recent years. By and large, they started with a single product (or a single service) and aspired to do that one thing very well. Many of these companies may have gotten their start through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. Pebble made just one smartwatch. OnePlus made just one smartphone. Instagram was just one app doing one thing on just one platform.
They’ve all grown significantly since their more humble beginnings and they still have plenty more room for growth, but the adage holds true. The riches are in the niches. You start by focusing on just one niche and make sure that you approach that one problem with your one solution that works really, really well.
When you try to be all things to all people, especially in the beginning, you can end up being almost nothing to no one. If you try to reach everybody, you end up reaching nobody. Your first goal should be to build up your tribe of followers. These initial fans are who will help to spread your brand through word of mouth, building your business to the point where you might consider branching out into other niches or products.
Until then, the riches are in the niches. But what does that really mean?
Who Is Your Audience?
Let’s say, for example, that you want to start a blog about cars. If you decide that this blog is going to be about all sorts of cars, both old and new, domestic and import, commuter and exotic, your content is just going to look disconnected. You’ll also have a harder time standing out from the crowd, because you’ll end up competing against much larger automotive sites like Jalopnik.
Instead, you should really work toward developing your expert authority on a very specific niche. Or even a sub-niche if you want to dig even deeper and build a loyal following. Instead of a blog about cars, you might have a blog that is dedicated only to the latest developments from Tesla. Or you might have a blog that is only about what you can do with your Tesla Model X.
You might think that you are limiting your audience by limiting your scope, and that may be true to a certain extent, but it means you have a much better chance at establishing yourself as *the* resource on that specific topic. The same is true if you want to be an app developer or if you want to make physical products. Do one thing and do it really well.
It may not be hugely lucrative the first time around, but you’ll learn your lessons along the way and the riches will follow if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.