So let’s face it – You dreamed about owning your own business for as long as you can remember. But you may be among the many aspiring entrepreneurs are at a loss for what to sell, then I have good news for you. Here a few ways to help you find your niche and curate the right types of products to sell and make a profit:
Identify Your Audience.
There are more than 7 billion people in the world. It’s unrealistic to think that everyone has the same tastes, attitudes, and economic status. Narrow down your target audience — maybe you have an intimate understanding of a niche community like college kids, car enthusiasts, endurance runners, etc. Identifying your primary target audience will go a long way in helping you determine your product strategy.
Next, do the research to understand the interests and needs of those within that community. What kind of lifestyle do they have? What are some of their challenges? It can be as simple as having casual conversations with people you know who “fit” within your target community — a teenage nephew, a neighbor fixing up a classic car, or your marathon-running sister.
However, for a more advanced approach, develop questions and create a survey to better understand the interests and buying behaviors of your target customer — how and where they shop, what types of products they buy, how they learn about products, what’s important to them before making a purchase, etc. Resources like SurveyMonkey are a cost-effective resource for creating a survey and even targeting an audience to whom you may not otherwise have access. Another route, if you have access to a group of people, is to use Google Forms to create and manage your survey.
Once you identify a target audience, you can focus on your product, your pricing, where to sell, and how to promote (yes, the tried and true “Four Ps”).
Share Your Talent.
Think about what you’ve mastered in creating — maybe friends, family, or complete strangers have praised you for your awesome vegan cookies, your pickled herring, or painted ceramics. If you create anything truly appreciated by others, maybe it’s time to seriously share your talents with the world. So the next time you share get the itch to create something, do it with a purpose, solicit the feedback (good, bad, and ugly) of friends and family to help you perfect your products, test out packaging, and even ask how to position your brand to potential customers. If you’re able to find your niche through your creations, you could have something that really stands out from those who sell similar products, versus someone who doesn’t have the same talent or drive.
Make Money from Your Passion.
What may be a fun hobby, could be an opportunity to make money. Think about the time, money, and energy you typically spend on learning everything about, let’s say spearfishing? You spend every week in a diving suit with a harpoon ready to go to the bottom of a picturesque lake for prey. You know every detail about the right water and weather conditions, and the appropriate equipment to prepare anyone at any level. If you’ve dreamed of opening your own shop to sell the best equipment and clothing for spearfishing, but the cost of a physical storefront is too cost prohibitive, then, identify those “must-have” key products that your fellow spearfishers can’t live without and consider those items for your online store.
Catch Trends Early.
If you have a knack for being the first to identify a cool product and start using it before most of your friends, then you might be a bona fide trend-setter. Let’s say you were an endurance junkie before it was cool — and you were the first to introduce protein bars as an efficient way to re-energize quickly. Think about your knowledge popular trends — and perhaps you have the chance to identify products that have the potential to become huge sellers.
Solve One Problem.
Maybe you’ve identified a problem that many people face, and you have just the solution that people realize they can’t live without. Consider the case of the vast uses for a simple mason jar, which has been around for more than 150 years. These jars are loved and used by people all over the world — whether its to preserve food, contain small parts, or create homemade crafts. One product that has been developed to help extend the use of mason jars is a reusable lid that has the ability to open and close with a flip of a thumb — making it convenient to use for items that can be poured and saved securely. Check out this video for how this simple product helps to solve a common problem.
No matter how you decide on the products to sell, remember to give your customers exceptional quality. Sure, making money is a good motivator for your own self-interest, but, think about the long-term effects of poor product quality and a lack of interest in your customers’ needs. If you decide to invest the time, energy, and money into building a store, then make sure that you put out products you believe in and have the potential to delight and enrich the lives of your customers.
Good luck and happy selling!