Research Your Niche
Steps to Starting a Business - Step 3
One of the most important steps to starting a business is to thoroughly Research your Niche.
This is one of the mistakes that people make whether starting an online home business or a business in the real world.
The reason that this is so critical is that it is fundemental to the success of your business. Without adequate niche research, you have no idea if people are looking for what your business provides or what the level of competition is.
I suppose it is a bit like taking coals to Newcastle or deciding to sell strawberries at Wimbledon. The demand is there, but there are so many other people selling the same products that you are unlikely to make a success of it.
I hope that the previous paragraph has given you enough of an idea why researching you niche is so important? Yes? Ok, then let's begin.
The same is true when starting an online home business. Particularly on the Internet, there are thousands of businesses and unless you research your niche
properly, you could be competing in an area that you just will not be able win and your business will be doomed to failure.
How do I Research my Niche?
The hardest part of starting a home business is considering what you can possibly do that will let you earn enough money to survive.
If you don't already have an idea of what kind of business you might develop, firstly consider your own strengths. What are you good at? What do you love doing?
Consider the words of Albert Schweitzer 1875 - 1965
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
Personally, I think this is an absolute brilliant starting point for anyone thinking about starting a business from home for the first time. I think he is telling us to find a niche that we love and are passionate about. Fortunately for you, this site will teach you to research your niche and build a business around something that you love and know, whatever that might be.
The first step to researching your niche
Write down a list of things that you love doing or know lots about. It doesn't matter what it is: make up, golf, online auctions, alternative medicine, jogging, scrapbooking, gardening, travel, travel with children... I could go on but I think you get the idea.
Consider whether you have specialist knowledge or just a love of the subject. You may have skills that you have used in employment such as consultancy skills, specialist knowledge such as something in the IT or medical field.
However, it doesn't have to be business focused and can just be something that you love doing. For example, I know a very successful lady who has many niche websites about make-up that earns her a full-time income. Another colleague has a gardening niche website based on his own gardening experience and earns getting towards £1,000 a month from it.
Once you have your list of areas that you love and feel that you could write about we need to find out if anyone is interested in reading or finding out about this topic.
A good way of doing this is to go into your local book store and see what books or magazines on the topic are available.
This might also give you an idea of a different niche to research.
For example, babies is far to broad an area to consider, but premature babies might be an area that is a suitable specialism that you can work within. Writing about this from the perspective of the mum of a premature baby might be an even better niche. Are there mothers and fathers out there looking for information about bringing up a premature baby?
Take a look at some of the key phrases that are used in titles of books and magazines and note what things are being sold within that niche. This will be important for
later research. You could also take a look at one of the online bookstores such as Amazon and see what books they are selling.
Keyword Research for your Niche
The next step is to do some online research to find out how many people are looking for information and products in your niche area and whether there is too much competition for you to "win" the niche.
In case you still aren't sure why it is important for you to be able to win your niche, do a search on google and see how many websites come up for the niche you have chosen. There are hundreds of thousands of websites and if you are on the last page with your niche website or business, you will never get found!
Ok, there are a number of tools to find out how many people are searching, what the advertiser competition is and how profitable your niche might be:
Exactly how to do this is a very personal thing and no two people will do it the same way.
As an example to get you started, in the Google Adwords tool, enter your keyword for your niche, type in the code and press get keyword ideas. You will get a page of results.
I prefer to select "show all columns" although I know some people like to hide many of them.
I also like to see what people are paying to place adverts for my niche as it gives an indication of how profitable the niche might be. Keywords can vary from a few pence which means it is not a particularly profitable niche to £10 or more which illustrates a high value product area (and a profitable niche for displaying advertising).
At the bottom of the list of words if you select "Exact Match" will be a list of additional keywords to be considered which can give you some really good inspiration for your niche.
Because I use Site Build It which has some really good tools for identifying my perfect niche, I only look at these to identify that there is a reasonable search volume, that there are some areas where advertiser competition is not saturated (a bar to the left that is showing a little white) and that there are some high paying keywords.
Pretty much the rest of the process is taken care for me by Site Build It.
To find out what is involved in setting up a niche website which can generate an income for your niche, take a look at how the SBI Action Guide suggests you research your niche.
Now you have a good idea of what your niche area might be, I would suggest taking a look at what other websites come up on a google search for that niche area. Type in the words into Google and take a look at the websites that come up. What are they selling or promoting? Are there lots of information sites or niche websites? Are there business sites from large multi-national companies? In other words, is there something that you think you could also do and what competition is there from the large companies (who you are going to find difficult to beat)?
If the competition is not stiff, and you get some ideas of things that you might be able to do, then it is a good area to research further.
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