Niche Business

Niche markets means you’re working with a much smaller customer base but the market space is less congested that you can make your own brand stand out and shine.

Business operating in niche markets are surer of foot, able to adapt to their customer needs and requirements, know their customers and generally have a higher degree of customer loyalty, all dependent on excellent service. Therefore, it helps to consider some of the ways you can succeed in a niche market, as well as examining some of the companies that have done the same – and how they did it.

Market Research

Do you know what your customers want, where they hang out, what their needs are, their best methods of shopping (route to market) and whether you’re equipped to deliver what they expect, you’re already halfway to staking your claim on a small market space. This also allows you to craft a brand that resonates with the segment of the population that is most likely to buy your products or services.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Can you identify prospects within the market that I can communicate with?
  2. Do these prospects need or have a strong desire for what my business offers?
  3. Is my offering suitably priced for this market? (If not, can it be?)
  4. Can I communicate a sales message to this market?
  5. Is this market large enough to support my business?

The more specialised your focus is, the better – customers will appreciate feeling that you’re fulfilling a specific need they have, and will be more likely to go back to you in future.

A benefit of operating in a niche market: the more business you do, the more you learn about your customers. Analysing customer data to find trends that can be used as springboards for future strategies is much less complicated when your customers are a small group who tend to share similar traits, rather than the populace at large.

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Artisan Business

Artisan Craft business, those that are manufactured using your hand in some nature, is a difficult business to be operating in, even when the climate of recession or depression is not in our midst. Small craft business are indicative of all business, subject to the many ups and downs of normal business life.

Trends that are hot for months or years suddenly die out, and new and unexpected hot niches develop overnight. There are some things that you can do to help your Artisan Business to be successful over the next few years.

People always desire crafts, and the purchasing power is not going to disappear altogether. There will still be people buying gifts and decorating homes and going on holidays. These people all try to get the best value for their money that they spend.

 

Service

So in these recession economic times service becomes extremely important. You must enhance your customer service, people are still requiring quality and your product if it matches their needs will be sought after. This is an area where you must consider, who is your customer, observe them in their shoes

  • Can you do custom work.
  • Can you make your craft scaled to fit the customers exact measurements?
  • Can you install that custom piece of furniture that you built?
  • Are there colours or finishes you can offer that your competitors can’t duplicate?

Customised service is very important and people are willing to pay for that personalised touch, of there is the high quality service to back it up. Success means you will have to work harder but is that anything new these days?

Price

Your price point may become an issue, take a ceramic bowl for example. You may be selling a 12″ round bowl as your main product, but now may see this as become a rare sale, its not rocket science to try smaller products with lower prices. Match the expectations and pockets of your customers.

Try to develop several price points, so that you are broadening the appeal to your customers. There will occasionally be sales of the high ticket items. You will find most of your sales come from the mid price products so make sure you have lots of the mid range on hand. We all know that impulse buying occurs, my experience is sub twenty euro, people will purchase, in the twenty to fifty euro price bracket, there is a consideration or consultation, and above that its a case of step back, evaluate the (your) product

Consider:  An old tip but still works, is to take your top end and make that your mid-range price point. Suddenly you have up scaled your business and your customers will still tend to buy what you normally produce. This is a bit tricky as you don’t want to invest heavily in your new top end products. It can make you top heavy and set you up for a financial crash.

Training & Demonstrations

Would you consider additional income from classes, demonstrations, workshops in whatever guise they take?  Could you develop classes based on your craft.

“Learn How To Make______”   You possibility to have additional sales with supplies, material, course work to your students. It can be lucrative and very rewarding. It brings in fun to the experience, you have shared experiences, giving them pleasure from something they made, and they are entertained. They also become a champion for your products. People develop an interest in the arts and crafts, and in their minds they are getting good value for their money.

Internet

We all have our website, blog, twitter, Facebook, don’t we ?

Every consider video, a short 1 – 2 min video clip of you making your product?  This is a powerful medium, as you have the opportunity to embellish our story, people buy you firstly, then your product next. Watching you hand craft your product, the passion behind it, the love and attention you give. Have it linked to your website, it will increase the Google page rankings and potentially traffic to the site.

Recessionary times need not cripple your business. Always keep you customer in mind and go that extra step to make them feel valued. You may have to work a bit harder for the next little while but that doesn’t mean you can’t survive it.