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Define A Niche, the Conquer
By: Developer Shed
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    Define A Niche, The Conquer
    by Bob McElwain

    Looking for a quality baseball cap? Hey, it's easy. Check
    out the material and workmanship. Grab a color you like, and
    maybe a team logo. You don't even have to try it on! Thanks to
    the little strap in the back, one size fits all. A marketer's

    You can still buy baseball caps that are sized. But they
    cost a good deal more and you have to buy in quantity. That
    little strap put a lot of cap manufactures flat out of business.

    Declining Options

    You see this happening across the spectrum of manufactured

    There is need now and then for me to spend serious time in
    the kitchen. Which includes washing dishes. I found a great
    sponge some years back. Dark green on one side with a roughness
    to it that really does a number on a pot or frying pan. The
    other side is yellow, a more typical kind of manufactured sponge.
    Softer and thicker, it's great for polishing off the heavy scrub.
    Each lasts about a month, longer if you don't mind some frayed

    The last batch I bought looked identical to what I had been
    getting. But they don't last but about a week. And they do not
    do nearly as good a job, which means more work. No doubt I paid
    less, but in the long run, the cheaper version may cost me more.
    Yet they will likely put the original manufacturer out of

    Will People Pay For Quality?

    My answer is a resounding, "Yes!" If I can find the original
    sponge mentioned above, I will buy it without even a glance at
    the price. It's a tool that simplifies a task. When it comes
    to tools, I want the best, for they last longer and make the job
    easier all the while. A lot of people feel the same way.

    Quality tools of any kind can become the basis of a
    profitable niche market. Sized baseball caps sell only on style
    and comfort. Thus this is not as good a starting point. There
    are not nearly as many people willing to pay twice the going rate
    for comfort as there are who will do so for quality tools.

    A Difficult Task

    Defining a niche is tough to do. But those who intend to
    succeed on the Web into the future, must find and conquer one.
    They must become the dominant name within it. They must provide
    great content that demonstrates expertise, over-deliver with
    quality products, and provide extremely high levels of support
    to all.

    The best approach I've read for finding a niche was written
    by Ken Evoy. I put together a digest of these notes. You can
    read it at:>

    But Where Do I Start?

    The article above helps in this. But here's another

    Throughout the offline world, independent merchants have been
    forced to join hands with large suppliers to the extent many are
    not free to stock in areas which conflict with the wishes of the
    suppliers. This may be most obvious in your local hardware
    store. Most of the stock comes through Ace Hardware or True
    Value Hardware.

    When the owner of the store you favor says, "We can't get
    those any more," he usually means the supplier no longer handles
    the item. And because of agreements, he is not free to go
    elsewhere for it. More than likely, the supplier has replaced
    what you want with a less expensive product that may or may not
    measure up to its predecessor in performance.

    Quality Is Available

    The drill bits available in your local store are not very
    expensive. But they are not great tools. Those who use bits
    regularly as a part of their work, may pay twice as much as you
    will pay. But the bits they buy will outperform and outlast
    their less expensive cousins many, many times over.

    Hardware Stores And Niche Marketing

    Tools are a major item in a hardware store. But the store's
    target is Mr. and Mrs. Average Consumer. Most do not need great
    quality and would not pay the greater price even if the better
    item was available. But some would. Therein lies the key.

    While your local hardware store may find it unprofitable to
    stock professional tools, may even be prevented by contracts from
    doing so, many customers would like the option to buy better

    The Web makes it possible to profitably offer only the best.
    The few who would buy top of the line in a given shop if it were
    available are collectively a target of considerable size.

    Starting Small

    Several years back I discovered bricks of fire starter cubes.
    Just touch a match to one, and you can ignite a pretty good sized
    chunk of firewood, provided it is split. Joy! No more kindling.
    No more nursing things along. No frustrating restarts. Just
    stack it, add a cube, and touch it with a lighted match.

    About eight years back, the hardware store changed brands.
    (Translate: Supplier changed brands.) They look the same. Cost
    the same. But it usually takes several matches. (And scorched
    fingers!) Further, it often takes several cubes.

    Make Money Starting Fires?

    I can almost hear what you are saying. "Stuff and nonsense,"
    would be one of the kindlier remarks. But a successful Web
    business can be built upon just such a simple tool.

    If you live in a city, a fire in the evening is likely not
    a necessity, only something that adds ambiance to other activity.
    For those who live with the first snowfall of winter lying about
    them until spring, a fire is often much more than a luxury. Most
    everyone who lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas as I do
    uses a wood stove throughout the winter. Many have no other
    source of heat.

    Okay, so there are a lot of people who start wood fires.
    But fire starter cubes? Get serious! Where's the buck in this?

    Have You Got What I Want?

    If you can provide good fire starter cubes, the kind I have
    not been able to find locally for many years, I will visit your
    site once each year as a minimum. Think of the accessories you
    can offer me when I do.

    Wood boxes. All sorts of items in which wood can be stored.

    Moving wood is a pain. An effective dolly or cart would be a
    great help. Something that moves easily over icy snow will be in
    great demand in some places.

    Few would buy a stove from you for most need the support of
    installation. So turn this to your advantage. Let your
    expertise regarding stoves become the central core of your site.
    The differences between stoves are enormous. And defining a best
    choice according to needs is extremely difficult.

    Along the path to expertise there are many helpful resources.
    Company sales presentations and specifications are a good
    beginning point. Write a good article about a particular stove,
    then call the company and ask for someone to read it before you
    publish. Most will jump at the opportunity. And you will
    discover details of importance overlooked or not available
    earlier. You may even take this first contact into a drop
    shipment arrangement for an occasional sale. Do it right,
    and advertising revenue can be generated.

    But getting back to other products you can offer, add the
    best wax for a tiled hearth. Brick bracer. And all it takes
    to keep a stove looking great. And something to deal
    effectively with those bugs that sneak in with the wood.

    Then there are teapots to be perched on top of the stove, to
    add a bit of welcome humidity. Tools to clear the ashes within
    the stove. Then there's chimney cleaning gear.

    Even attractive pillows for the pup. which keeps the carpet
    clean. And something for the cat as well, though I've no idea

    Wrapping Up

    While the above notion has merit, it is flawed in that it is
    seasonal. Were I to tackle this, I would probably search for
    another niche that was summer based, and work this through
    another site. Maybe barbecues and outdoor cooking.

    Tools came to mind because I like good ones and they are not
    easy to find. Since lots of people feel the same way, this is a
    good starting point. Cook ware comes to mind.

    Yes, I know the Web is loaded with cook ware shopping malls.
    But have you looked at the products? They are virtually all the
    same. There is not only an opportunity here to sell quality, but
    to sell specialty items. What's out there now kind of reminds me
    of baseball caps in a way. We hope you agree that a eight inch
    frying pan is as small as is needed.

    Since I only fry a couple eggs at a time, I'd rather have a
    five inch pan. Show me one of quality and I'll pay your price.


    Bob McElwain
    Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already
    have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe
    to "STAT News" now!

    Web marketing and consulting since 1993
    Phone: 209-742-6783

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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