Every industry has needs specific to its niche. It is when one becomes an expert in these needs and can communicate them clearly to others in their industry that one becomes an invaluable resource.
Before one dives into creating a product or service or starting a business, one should seek as much information as possible about the needs of their chosen industry. This information gathering will prepare the person to anticipate what the market will expect from them and how to meet those needs best as they enter that industry.
Gaining an understanding of your industry
When setting out to bring a new product or service to the market, entrepreneurs should do their due diligence in researching their target consumers or clients, as well as their competition, and learn all they can about the industry they are about to enter.
Growing up, I was surrounded by people in the construction industry. I knew the ins and outs of masonry and construction management very early in my career.
However, only some are lucky enough to have such a head start. Most need to play a bit of catch-up to enter their chosen industry, ready to compete. It can spell disaster right out of the gate if one enters an industry without any knowledge of the industry’s specificities.
Quite a few resources are available to entrepreneurs who want a crash course in their industry. New business owners should seek out industry-specific groups that will allow them to speak to other people who may have valuable insights to offer.
Even though this business-to-business interaction may feel like you are fraternizing with the competition, much can be learned from those who have entered an industry ahead of you. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, well-educated entrepreneurs uplift entire industries.
Markets and niche
One of the most important pieces of research for a new business concerns market segments and niches. While you may believe just choosing an industry is “niching down”, or identifying an even smaller segment of a market as your target, you will find that those who select specific niches within industries often happen upon the most success. That is because they are targeting particular markets and the needs within those markets.
For example, you could open a restaurant with an overwhelmingly extensive menu that claims to specialize in any cuisine. Still, you are more likely to find success if you research the market in your area, find out what kind of cuisine is missing, and fill that particular void.
If there are enough people in your target market clamoring for sushi or street tacos and not finding a source, becoming that source could make your business take off. Knowing the void that needs filling takes research and understanding, local customers, for your industry.
Missteps in understanding an industry
Many entrepreneurs may feel that they have a natural inclination for business, so they may not need to gain a deeper understanding of their industry. They may feel like any business they take on can be successfully run due to their entrepreneurial prowess, but they would be wrong.
It’s easy to think we have all the answers, especially if we have run other successful businesses before. However, each new venture should be subject to industry research, market analysis, and a complete understanding, lest too many missteps occur and the idea crashes and burns.
Some big mistakes made by business owners could be easily avoided if there was a greater attempt to understand their industry before diving head first into business ownership. These include:
1. Having only money on their minds
Yes, you want to succeed; and yes, making good money from your own business is great. But, when one doesn’t bother to do research about their industry’s market or growth potential, they may end up frustrated and disappointed.
2. Not scoping out the competition
Even the most targeted or niche-specific businesses will have some form of competition. Through business-to-business groups, one can get to know others in their industry and form a bond that could prove useful in the future if any questions or issues arise.
3. Not grasping the needs of the market
If one is not willing to ask themselves what their target customers want and need, one may be bringing a product or service to the market that will fall flat or be completely ignored.
4. Not leaning on those who know more
No person is an island. When we are setting out in an industry we may be unfamiliar with. It helps to have those around us as mentors, advisors, or employees with industry experience and know-how.
Positively addressing needs
Successfully scaling a new business can happen when industry needs are well-met. Even though many businesses can seem cut-throat, meeting industry needs can be done positively and with a healthy approach to competition. You may be aware of a need in your chosen industry, which becomes a singular mission for your business.
Perhaps in the midst of your industry or niche research, you happen upon a pressing need that you feel drawn to fulfill. Whatever brings you to your purpose, approach it with a positive bent, keeping the good of the industry as a whole in mind.
Embracing your industry peers — instead of focusing on crushing them and always coming out on top — can be a buoy for your industry as a whole. After all, you were drawn to a particular industry for a reason. Business needn’t be a merciless endeavor. A positive approach can help your business thrive and eventually make you one to watch industry-wide.
Beginning a business can be daunting for anyone, especially if one is entering an industry one has not previously been a part of. Through diligent research, niche exploration, and market analysis, entrepreneurs can gain a solid understanding of their industry’s needs and work to fill those needs as they grow their businesses.
About the Author: Matt DiBara is the founder of The Contractor Consultants – he’s the fourth generation of an Italian immigrant-built masonry that is ranked five stars on Google, Yelp, and HomeAdvisor. He’s known as the ‘undercover contractor’, who works with celebrity clients and everyday homeowners to provide advice and insight about how to manage construction projects. He is now passing along his knowledge to other contractors via his course “The Contractor Hiring Course” and by way of growing their businesses directly with The Contractor Consultants.