Plan Your Internet Success – Part 1 – FIND YOUR NICHE

1. Find an Area of Business where an Opportunity Exists and Define your Niche

The first thing that we will be looking at is the type of business you should be doing.

This is an area where many gurus claim to have the secret to make a lot of money very fast (even when you are asleep or when you’re on vacation in Bermuda). However, if they know something you or I do not, I would be very surprised. Furthermore, why would anyone who knows the secret to getting rich fast sell it to you or me for $9.99 or even $999? In pure business terms, selling something worth millions for a mere $9.99 makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Bottom line: to succeed you must do some work and come up with an idea for a business in which you are interested. Hopefully, it will be original but, more importantly, something that you want to do because you care about it, not simply because someone told you that you can make money doing it. I’ve been around for many years and I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my life, but I have never come across something that was easy and allowed me to make money doing nothing. Business is not being on vacation in the Bermuda…it’s hard work and you need to be prepared for that reality.

Whatever you do, do not spend your money buying some “get rich quick” scheme. Doing this is like going to Vegas with lots of bells and whistles with only one outcome: you will lose your money (and I’m not sure you’ll even get bells and whistles with gurus)!

The reality is that there are hundreds of opportunities in this world at any given time. A good example of this is real estate, where agents get lots of leads when the economy is booming and people are on a buying spree for houses; meaning they’ll need a realtor, financing, insurance, trade workers for remodeling, etc. In a down economy, these same people will be looking to re-finance, and will be in need of cheaper insurance, as well as assistance with foreclosures, while others will look to buy foreclosures because they are better off. In short, it’s all a matter of timing and intuition, as well as what you will see me mention many times in this publication: “common sense.”

These areas of business are called verticals and to help you explore and find a vertical you may like, professionally speaking. I listed some resources below.

Resources:
http://www.ryze.com/
http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/
http://www.lib.washington.edu/subject/Communications/business/gen.htm
http://www.hoovers.com/free/
http://www.ryze.com/postaddprocess.php
http://www.alibaba.com/
http://www.angeldeals.com/
http://www.atomz.com/
http://www.caycon.com/resources.php
http://buyusa.com/page/my_gtn/splash.asp
http://www.corptech.com/
http://www.harte-hanks.com/cgi-bin/inetcgi/hh/index.jsp
http://www.jayde.com/

I suggest that you look at what kind of businesses are being launched or simply discussed. Trends come and go, and some are very quick to go, so you want to be careful about not getting sucked into something that will fizzle tomorrow. But more importantly, find something that you feel comfortable with. Don’t get involved in areas that are of no interest to you or that you would not want to be involved in simply because someone tells you that there is a lot of money to be made. Believe me, no matter how good it sounds, it is never easy, especially if you do not know the business.

Once you’ve done your research and found something that you’d like to pursue, drill down to the very specifics of this business. Go online and into chat rooms specific to your industry. Listen to what people are saying in the chat rooms and talk to those who have been working in your particular industry. Learn from the failure of these people and, as much as you can, learn from the success stories that you will read.
When you are satisfied that you’ve found something you’d like to get involved in, try to find a unique angle, a very personal way to target the audience that you are going after. In other words, try to find a core (niche) audience within this vertical and find a product or service that matches their expectations.

For example, let’s say that you want to generate leads for car dealers. That’s a business idea that has its merits, but defining what kind of cars would be even better. For example, would you want to have leads of people who are looking for SUVs, minivans, full-size cars or sports cars? Those are all very different demographic targets and trying to catch them all under one lead generating document would be very difficult. As a result, I suggest that you look for a core audience (or niche), where there is more potential.
These niches are much more specialized and targeted and, as such, limited; something that will result in fewer leads (for example, if, at any moment, 1000 people are shopping for a car, probably fewer than 10 percent, or under 100 people, would be looking to buy a sports car – if you were targeting sports cars shoppers, your potential for prospects would be only that number of buyers). However, targeting a niche market has tremendous advantages, especially on the Internet. It allows you to be very specific when you are creating advertisement or landing page for your Web site.

In other words, marketing a service or product to a niche audience can be a lot more cost efficient than targeting a broad audience.

Furthermore, the Internet allows you to create a multitude of pages and campaigns, each targeted at a specific niche, and, as a result, you could simultaneously or over time develop multiple niches within the same vertical.

What is important when developing different niches is to test them to get a “feel” for what works and what doesn’t. Based on the results of these tests, you would then increase marketing efforts or not, and move on to another niche market.

Keep in mind that the Internet is like a gigantic mall, where you can open specialized shops in record time and with minimum investment. So my question is “Why not do exactly that?” One note of caution, educate yourself on the niche you go after and never spend too much money developing your Web site or marketing it. However, and again, above all, don’t try to sell something you don’t know anything about or you don’t care for. Don’t try to sell vitamins if you don’t care about vitamins or know nothing about them. I guarantee that your chances of success would be extremely limited.

The complete manuscript is available at http://www.jtouboul.com

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14 comments so far

  1. Jean Touboul on

    Just came across another resource that may be a great resource for finding a niche business. It’s a book written by Scott Shane “Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures” from Wharton School Publishing.

    I’ll add it as a commentary when I finalize the Planyourinternetsuccess.com web site. This fits perfectly into what I imagined this manuscript to be: A living document.

  2. John Schleh on

    Great Articles and recourses must read for bloggers. Plan Your Internet Success is also a must read

  3. jasonwilliams2 on

    Nice post! Thanks for the resources. Planning is the best armor in internet business. Without planning, your a dead man, especially with every minute changes in Google.

  4. Pauline on

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