One of the first things you do when planning your small business is determine your target market and why they would choose you over the competition.  It sounds very elementary but at the same time its actually a pretty important set of details  such as what are you selling and to whom? Is the market you serve the best one for your company?  Are the pros and cons of dealing with your business clear and are they aligned with those of your target customers?  On top of determining these details there are several things you can do to find your niche.

First be clear about what you have to offer. It sounds obvious but many start up businesses have a tendency to be vague simply because they haven’t figured out which of their products will be of the most value to their customers.  Keep it simple at first. Whatever the competition is offering, you should as well but with your own signature. Think about how many restaurants are located in your general area. They all offer food but you will visit specific chains based on the specific type of food they offer.

Use strategy to narrow your focus and find your target customers. One of the downfalls of failing to define what you have to offer is having to be a “jack of all trades” which could create more work and less profit. Think about it from the perspective of the customer. When we go to purchase service and goods we make a decision based on our specific needs first and then pricing. What you are offering and specific pricing are key elements in creating a sense of value with your customers. Figure out what the target customer wants by figuring out who they are and you have a  formula for your focus. Things like surveys ,questionnaires and good old customer service are all good basic strategies for finding your place in the market. Just remember when you do surveys, make it convenient, even fun or beneficial (if possible) for your customers.

Instead of being a “jack of all trades” and a master of none, identify the value you have with your target customers and build upon that service or product.  Creating a place in the market for your company is the key to success. Once you have established your target market you'll need to take aim to create a message that reaches and resonates with that market while reinforcing your brand identity and defining your niche.