Many people dream of starting their own business, whether it’s a restaurant, a clothing store or selling homewares online. But no matter what kind of business you’re thinking of starting, there’s one question everyone in the planning stages needs to ask themselves – what will set our business apart from our competitors?
Finding your business niche can be tricky. But it doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. All you have to do is take an existing concept and make a few unique changes to create something to set you apart from the crowd. Once you have this, you can entice your customers to keep coming back and truly fall in love your brand.
It almost goes without saying that the first step in building your new businesses is research. But this is particularly important if you’re looking to create a niche businesses – you need to be absolutely certain that what you’re offering doesn’t already exist. Take the time to research your competitors and understand where your business sits in the marketplace. And don’t just research competitors in Australia. Research internationally as well. Are there similar businesses overseas? Has it worked? What made it successful and would that translate here? These are all essential things to look into before you get started.
Taking advantage of consumer trends
Consumer trends change over time, but if you can spot a trend building in the early stages, this is a great time to find and establish your business niche. Recently in Australia, thanks to a number of high profile cooking shows, we’ve seen a big shift in consumer attitudes toward food, for example. Everyday consumers have turned into amateur food critics, which in turn has created opportunities for more food-based businesses to open, from fine dining restaurants to themed cafes to food trucks. All these businesses are taking advantage of the growing foodie trend, with the most successful ones finding clever ways to package their offering in a new and unique way.
There’s also been a recent trend towards subscription shopping services. When we decided to launch Bookabuy, there were already numerous businesses selling subscription boxes; anything from personalised coffee boxes, clothing, makeup and even eco products. But no one in Australia was offering a subscription book service. From a business point of view we could see the idea of a subscription service was sound – customers were buying them so the demand was there. But with no one yet selling books, we realised we’d identified the right gap in the market for us to launch our idea. Taking advantage of a growing consumer trend while finding a gap in the market allowed us to find our business niche.
Understanding your customer
In any business, one of the most important aspects is understanding your customer. In our experience, whilst there have been wide-ranging debates about the death of print, we quickly discovered that there was still a devoted reader base who simply love their paperbacks. But it still wasn’t really just about getting a book into the hands of a customer – for us it was about truly understanding who our customer is, and how we could delight them.
Identifying and understanding your customer when you launch any business is essential. But it doesn’t end there. Listening to your customers’ feedback and being prepared adapt and change is just as important. Your business will naturally evolve over time, so if you’re evolving with your customers because you’re listening to them and meeting their needs, then that niche customer base you’ve developed is much more likely to remain loyal.
There are so many things to consider when starting a business, from surrounding yourself with the right people, allowing for growing pains, being realistic about success and learning how to budget. But that all comes down to logistics. It’s finding your business niche, finding that unique product or service, that will really be the difference between success and failure.
About the author:
This article was was produced by Chris & Melissa Tantchev, co-founders of Bookabuy, Australia’s first personalised book subscription service. The dynamic, Sydney-based husband and wife team founded the company in June 2015. Chris has over 10 years’ experience in digital advertising, whilst Mel’s background includes studies in law and education at Sydney University, work in the public sector and a broad passion for literature. Their complementing skillsets when it comes to managing Bookabuy represent their unique and innovative way to approaching business.