You have come up with a cracker of an idea. It’s not just slightly different. It’s unique and out of the box. You can see a new market emerging and you’re ahead of the pack.
It should be easy to get the dollars rolling in, right? Think again.
When you explain what you do it’s not uncommon to see quizzical looks, or for people to ask whether it really is a business and whether there is money to be made doing it. This can often be followed by:
“I wish I’d thought of that;” or
“That would be my dream job;” or
“Are you recruiting?” or
“That’s amazing, how did you come up with that;” or
“Where were you three years ago. I wish you existed then. I could have done with your help.”
This is all well and good. But there is also a range of unique hurdles an entrepreneur building a niche business faces. From my experience, they are:
#1. PEOPLE NEED TIME. Your business might be special but it can take people a while to consider it so. People need to absorb the details and consider how it matches with their needs.
This can happen regardless of how clearly you put forward your proposition. Most people need time to adjust to something new. Part of change management 101 is this: innovation cannot be rushed. This means the lead time. From an initial discussion with a potential client to converting discussions to a sale or securing them as a client, could be longer than for a traditional business.
#2. MOST ARE RISK AVERSE. Many people would applaud your unique efforts and wish you luck in growing your start-up business. But, they may not readily join you on account of the risks involved.
So, there may be some that are unlikely to be the first to use your product or service. Instead, they might seek social validation that your business/service/product is valuable and sought after by others. This means it is important to focus on securing a flagship client early on that you can openly discuss with others.
You should ask clients for testimonials. You could trumpet yourself but, it is far more effective for an existing client or a third party, to endorse your product or service to a potential new client. You could use such endorsements to provide tangible examples that some clients need before making a commitment.
#3. SOME JUST WON’T GET IT: If they haven’t seen it, heard it or experienced it before, they just can’t grasp what you are doing. That’s OK. You are operating in a niche market. By nature, it’s not for everyone. Focus on the wins you can get. If you still think your service/product is right for someone, give it time. They may come back to you.
Hang in there. Believe in yourself and what you are doing.
Network. Promote yourself.
Promote your business. Get testimonials. With good planning and persistence, your time will come.