Finding the Needs - Choosing Your Market

This is the 3rd blog in a series focussed on Digital entrepreneurship in South Africa.
We're delighted to publish the next step in our blog series. In our previous blog we spoke about owning your idea and gave you some practical steps on how to do this, now we need to talk about choosing your market. 

Finding the needs, choosing your market

We’ve all heard the calls ‘you need a niche,’ ‘you can’t serve everybody,’ ’in trying to serve everybody you end up serving nobody,’.
The trouble is, how the heck do you get it? Where do you start when it comes to finding your niche?
We can’t pluck a niche out of thin air or choose a target audience at random.

Finding the needs, and choosing your market is critical for all businesses regardless of their structure or orientation; entrepreneurial or non-entrepreneurial and digital or non-digital.
It is also good to remember that whether you open a business in a unique industry or a saturated market, it is important to differentiate yourself from the competition to win over your audience.

To do this, entrepreneurs should find a specific business niche to target and modify their market strategy to accommodate that audience.

How do you go about picking a niche that both interests you and has enough of an existing customer base to be profitable?

When someone tells you to “find your niche,” they mean you should find the very specific activity or position that sets you apart and in which you can find success or fulfilment. Niche is commonly used as an adjective to describe something that has very specific appeal. 

Don't just choose a niche because you're "kind of interested" in it; to be sustainable, it should ideally be something you can see yourself being passionate about for at least 5 years.
Nearly every market can be further refined, or divided, by the specific needs and preferences of its constituents. Some of the most common ways to define a niche are based on:
  • Price (luxury, moderate, discount)
  • Demographics (gender, age, income level, education level)
  • Level of quality (premium, handmade, economical)
  • Psychographics (values, interests, attitudes)
  • Geographics (residents of a certain country, city, or even neighbourhood rice (luxury, moderate, discount)
  • Demographics (gender, age, income level, education level)
  • Level of quality (premium, handmade, economical)
  • Psychographics (values, interests, attitudes)
  • Geographics (residents of a certain country, city, or even neighbourhood


Finding a niche is important for small business owners who want to not only create a steady stream of revenue, but also establish a loyal audience.

Don't make things more complicated than they must be. Over time, your niche will get clearer.

 Tips on defining your Niche

  • Reflect on your passions and interests and hobbies.
Write down all your passions and anything that you have expertise in. It could be blogging, crypto, or makeup. Doesn’t matter. List them all out. The reason this is important is staying power. If you choose a niche, you hate or have no knowledge about, you’ll eventually get frustrated and quit. Having passion, interest, or expertise gives you the runway to get your business going.

  • Training that you already have
A good starting point is to look at your own skills, knowledge, and experience. What are your strengths? What topics do you know inside and out? Where do you have insights that trainers without your experience might not share?
  • Identify customers problems and needs
You first need to find problems your target customers are experiencing, then determine whether you can actually solve them. You can identify customer needs in a number of ways, for example, by conducting focus groups, listening to your customers or social media, or doing keyword research.
  • Choose the top five ideas that you are most interested in turning into a business.
Running a business takes a lot of time and commitment, so you want to pick a topic that you are passionate about. If you don’t enjoy the niche, you won’t be as motivated to work hard to make it a success.
   o If there’s no demand (no money), cross it off your list.
   o You should now have a list of ideas that you can start to think about. Really think about which of these you have enough of an interest in to actually create a business. Cross the ones of the list that don’t feel right.
  • Once you have a shortlist of ideas
It's time to research them to see which one has the best potential to turn into a profitable online business. Researching your target audience helps to understand their needs, goals, motivations, frustrations, and expectations.  With your final list, think about ways to monetize a product or service or content around them. Can you sell products? Coaching? Advertising? Can you create a course that people would buy?
  • Define your niche and its profitability.
You should now have a pretty good idea of what niche you're going to get into. Maybe you haven't narrowed your list down to a single topic area, but you've likely found a few ideas you feel pretty good about. At this point, it's important to get an idea of how much money you have the potential to make in your niche.
Maximize the use of the Internet and see how many companies offer the services you’re planning to offer. If there are a decent number of competitors, but not too many yet, you may have a good earning potential in your niche. Make sure to write down the price points, so you can price your services competitively.
Also keep in mind that you don't have to start your business with a product offering of your own. You can partner with products creators, advertisers, and site owners in your niche to begin generating commissions while you're working on your unique solution.

Let Us Recap!

  1. Reflect on your passions and interests.
  2. Brainstorm interests that you already participate in, hobbies that you wouldn't mind turning into a business, specialties
  3. Identify customers' problems and needs.
  4. Think of training that you already have, and previous work experience that could potentially turn into a business.
  5. Research the competition.
  6. Define your niche and its profitability.

Part of the process of learning how to find a niche market is to continue studying it and updating your knowledge. This helps you discover still-unmet needs and provide solutions for them.
Here are some areas you should always be looking into:
  • National and international trends
  • Key industry players
  • Government regulations
  • New skills and technologies needed in your niche
For example, in bookkeeping, government regulations can affect the services you’re planning to offer. Regularly keeping track of updates in regulations can help you avoid being blindsided later.

But do keep in mind that there isn't necessarily a perfect process for finding a niche. You'll want to do your homework, but if you get stuck in the planning phase, you'll never actually get around to starting. As an entrepreneur, you need to become a good starter.

Finding your niche in a digital environment.

Finding a niche market in the physical space was tricky before. This was true even though, in retrospect, you already had a limited market due to geographical location. Now it’s even trickier to narrow down a potentially global market to a size that you can reach and engage effectively with.

At a glance, some of the more effective methods include:
  • Google search. Research the popularity potential of each idea. You want to look for a topic that is popular enough online and in search engines that you know plenty of customers will find you.
  • Keyword search - You want to find popular search terms that lots of people are already searching for
  • Check affiliates. Search affiliate marketing sites for products related to your niche. If there are many products available, that means a ready market.
  • Social media. Look at social media platforms like Instagram to see what hashtags and content related to your niche are popular and how many people follow or use them. This will give you an idea of how large the audience for that topic is.
Once you’ve found your niche, you need to find the most effective way of engaging with them. One of the most effective ways of doing this is via social media and internet marketing.

To get a kick start on what is required to understand and apply your marketing skills in a digital environment, take a look at our Internet marketing course (Internet Marketing Fundamentals)


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