If you search Google today on how to find, identify, or define a niche target audience or market for your product, you will encounter 12,500,000 search results. That’s a lot of (probably not so good) advice. If you search Google today on how to create a product for a niche target audience that you have already identified, you’ll only come up with 302,000 results. Why? Because most would-be entrepreneurs ask the first question, and it’s the wrong question to ask when you are starting a business.
It’s especially the wrong question if you are planning to launch a business selling handmade products.
Wen you are launching a handmade business (or any business for that matter), you must go after a niche target audience that already exists, and create a product just for them. Not the other way around. This approach is eve more important for you to embrace as a Handmade Entrepreneur because you are more inclined than a traditional entrepreneur to start trying to sell products you like to make rather than products you have determined people will buy.
Starting a business is like preparing to bring a child into the world. You would not spend thousands of dollars on blue clothing and little “Mommy’s Little Slugger” baseball caps if you didn’t already know you were having a boy. It’s the same in business.
To maximize your chances of success, you must create a product for a target audience that already exists, and which is thirsty for your niche product because no one else is offering it to them.
I other words, begin with the end in mind. Start with the niche target audience you want to serve, and then make a niche product that is tailor made for them.
4 Tips for Creating a Niche Product
1. Be an Entrepreneur First
Most Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs do not start out with an entrepreneurial mindset (I didn’t), but if you don’t pursue entrepreneurship more than you pursue what you love to make or do, your business will fail.
You must get out of your product space and into the head space of consumers in your industry who want something the market is not already giving them.
That’s what entrepreneurs do.
2. Be a Maker Second
Once you discover what a target group of people in your market is looking for, you can create it for them. That’s what successful entrepreneurs do.
3. If You Can’t Find Your Target Audience, It May Be Because There Isn’t One
This it the sad truth for many Makers. In typical situations, thousands of dollars and hoards of precious energy are sunk into a product that not enough people will buy. This means low sales, which means low profits, with means no growth, with means death.
The good news is that it’s not over until it’s over, and if a mindset shift is made, it’s possible to turn the business around by tweaking the product to fit a target audience that is identified through the process of failing the first time.
If you are having a hard time finding a target audience for your niche handmade product, step back a bit and take a second look at the product and who you are pitching it to. If there is no match, look long and hard for some white space in the market. Then, tweak your product to fill it.
4. Be Patient
The world is filled with people who started businesses because they were good at making something, only to discover later that no one wanted to buy it in numbers that mattered. I’m one of those people!
If you find yourself in this situation, you have to remember that entrepreneurship is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You cannot get to anything remotely like a “finish line” in one fell swoop. Your first product is like a “starter product.” It dumps you from the frying pan and into the burning hot fire, and you start jumping around trying to find your way back to the relative comfort of the frying pan. Don’t do this. Stay in the fire. Walk through the fire, not alone but with mentors and peers who can uplift you and help you find the niche you want to serve.
Once you find that niche, the people in it will tell you what they want — if you engage and ask them.
Don’t give up. There are niche markets to be served, and at least one of them intersects with your personal mission in life to offer something beautifully handmade to the world, for a fee. Find that niche first. Serve that niche second.
You are on your way!
Basket Weaver Photo via Shutterstock