Get big by starting small (Identify Niches)

November 11th, 2010 by Marcus Tewksbury

To get big you’ve got to start small. In business, as in many places in life the old adage rings true.  When you are first getting started you need to figure out how to successfully solve problems. Take on too much, or problems too large and you may not have a runway long enough to discover the right formula.

This becomes a central key to messaging. Within your target market you want to start identifying niches where you can isolate common needs. The smaller the audience, the more likely you are to find a relevant point of view.  Geography?  Company size?  You don’t need to get too cute, or overly complicated here just look for some obvious ways to segment your audience. Begin with the understanding you will need to iterate your groupings to come up with the right formula.

Starting small also enables you to focus your limited resources on building awareness.  Take companies like L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, or even REI – today they are all fairly well known brands, but each began by focusing on a specific niche around outdoor apparel, and then their respective geographies.  They didn’t overextend themselves with mass broadcast, but instead focused on local area marketing, crm, and loyalty marketing.

Focusing on a small group also maximizes the potential impact of social. To help explain this, imagine taking a single bee and placing it in a typical sized honey jar. Now, what about if you packed a whole handful in there. Can you visualize the buzz and frenetic energy taking place in that small space?  Now, what about if you placed the same bees in something the size of a water cooler?  By targeting your assets to a smaller space, or jar if you will, you’ve got a lot better chance to hit a target and spawn an organic buzz.

It’s all about finding the right formula. Once you can get small victories under belt it becomes a lot easier to find ways to extend relationships before targeting untapped soil.


•    You have limited runway to demonstrate ability to solve problems
•    Easier to be relevant to a small audience
•    Focus working dollars on local markets
•    Leverage small groups to drive social buzz


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