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How to Find Your Niche

Customers need companies that can understand and anticipate what they want. To do that, you need to find your niche in the market.
May 25, 2017

As you build your business, it’s important to think about how you fit into the market. If you are general in scope, people won’t know what you're really good at. Customers want to buy from someone who really gets their specific market and needs.

We created DG Medical Animations as a division of DG Interactive for that very reason. For fifteen years, DG Interactive has made high-quality web sites and 3D animations. As web development has become more commoditized in recent years, we knew that we had to develop a new, very niche offering. That would give us reason to find extremely targeted and focused methods for acquiring new customers. As a result, our lead generation, trade show strategy and online advertising strategies have become more sophisticated.

The story of our path to choosing 3D medical animations may help with your thinking. While we knew we needed a niche, it took some brainstorming to find the right one.

1. Let your passions guide you.

About two years ago, I narrowed my list of personal passions to three: food, travel and medicine. Medicine might be an obscure interest, but that’s also what makes it a great choice. After years of struggling with back pain and gaining insight into the patient experience, I became more interested in educational materials available to patients and knew that I wanted to contribute to that field. 

Once you know what you are passionate about, think about how you can harness that into a business. Is it a service you can provide? Is it a product you can create? You’ll probably also want to think about how the business could scale. For example, if it’s a service, can you train others to work with you? If it’s a product, you might want to look for a partner who has experience in manufacturing.

The best part about a business in something you are passionate about is that it doesn’t feel like “work” and you will be more motivated to work long hours and be fully invested in your idea.

2. Do your research.

Once you find your niche, it's time to research the competitive landscape. How big is your total addressable market? How many direct and indirect competitors will you have? If a potential customer already has a vendor for the service you'll provide, how much will it cost them to switch? Design your strategy in line with your findings, and lay a strong foundation for success.

The best part about a business in something you are passionate about is that it doesn’t feel like “work” and you will be more motivated to work long hours and be fully invested in your idea.

 – Dave Grossman, founder/CEO, DG Interactive

3. Stand out from the crowd.

There are a just few dozen companies in North America that specialize in medical animation. In a field that's not overcrowded, our demo reel and customer-first mindset can shine.  We made the decision to position ourselves as a high-quality yet mid-priced studio for medical animation.

As you flesh out your idea, think about how you will position yourself and about how your idea is different from anything currently in the market. Does your product or service fill an unmet need in the market? Solve a pain point? Avoid the trap of creating something that is too similar to an already successful company. It can sound like a great idea because you see their success. The trap is that they already likely filled an unmet need and that need is now met, so you’ll need to find another angle.

It’s also a good idea to get feedback from friends and colleagues. Ask if they would be interested in your idea if they didn’t already know you. Why or why not?  If you are consistently finding that your idea doesn’t wow people the way it should, you may need to pivot your idea.

4. Don't be afraid to pivot.

Give yourself some time to make progress and set a realistic timeframe to gauge the growth of your niche offering. Success won’t happen overnight, but you do need to see things moving in the right direction. If you don’t, you might want to reconsider your service, product or marketing strategy.  Some of the biggest companies started off doing something else entirely, so if your idea isn’t working, it may be time to change course.

Read more about how DG Interactive found their market niche.

Photo: Getty Images