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Niche marketing critical to small business success

What makes you meaningful, honest and different from your competitors?
What makes you meaningful, honest and different from your competitors?
Graphics courtesy of Jen Wolfe Creative

The key to growing your small business is being able to distinguish your company from everyone else who basically offers the same products or services that you do. In other words, what makes you different from everyone else out there? What is your niche?

Creating a niche isn’t an easy task and can take quite a bit of thought and inventiveness. For example, how do you distinguish an automotive repair place from its competitors? Don’t they all do pretty much the same thing? Not necessarily. Maybe the owner requires all their mechanics be certified through a special school?

Maybe the company only works on certain makes or models of vehicles? Or perhaps they specialize in only one type of repair (like Midas, who originally started as an auto repair company for brakes and mufflers only).

Let’s take a look at several small businesses that have done an excellent job of creating niche markets for their products or services.

Grawood Enterprises, a small business based in Phoenix is the maker of MoldOff. MoldOff is an eco-friendly mold removal product. Grawood Enterprises chose to concentrate its initial marketing efforts on the marine industry. Naturally, boats and all the equipment associated with them are prone to mold thanks to the prevalence of water, warmth and food sources.

Grawood Enterprises very first product was especially formulated for the marine industry to help boat owners tackle the problem of mold. Today, the company has expanded into commercial and residential mold removal products, but the marine industry remains the backbone of the business.

Paw Posse is a small business store (online only) that started its life by selling large dog supplies — things like fun toys, cool dog clothes, and other useful stuff that big dogs love. Please notice that Paw Posse offered only LARGE dog supplies — not small or medium size dog supplies.

Great niche! The owners of the site had a large dog and found it very difficult to find things like raised dog bowls tall enough for their pooch. They also had a hard time finding big dog collars and big toys that could withstand some very hard play. So, they set about rounding up all the best doohickies and neat stuff for big dogs and creating an online retail outlet. Today, the company offer supplies for all size dogs.

Last but not least, another small business in Phoenix called 360 Adventures got its start in the early 1990s offering guided mountain biking and hiking tours. There were dozens of other adventure companies in Arizona at the time, but mountain biking was still in its infancy.

A few other companies offered mountain biking for large groups only, but 360 Adventures chose to offer guided tours to private individuals as well as small or large groups. Over their years as the company grew, it expanded the selections to include guided canyoneering and rock climbing adventures and just plain fun exploration tours to great places like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Tombstone, Arizona and more.

What does that mean for your business? It means niche marketing it critical for your small business. You need to think outside the box and create ways to help your business stand out. If that means sending all your auto mechanics to the best repair school in the country, then do it (finances permitting, of course). Once you’ve established your niche, then start marketing to it.