Niche businesses can and do succeed in tough markets. That is, if they are smart enough to develop nimble strategies to overcome some rather formidable challenges which larger businesses simply never have to face. These challenges include working with a limited budget and scrambling for sufficient resources to meet big goals. Many start with next to nothing more than a seed idea, heroic doses of passion, and a burning desire to realize their vision.
When niche businesses do succeed in tough markets, it’s usually because they have learned how to be resourceful, how to build a stellar reputation, and how to leverage the cooperation of a tightly knit team. Let’s take a closer look at how these three factors can help a small business succeed in the world of big business:
If a business doesn’t have enough resources, it can overcome these problems through the power of sheer ingenuity. For instance, one way to be more resourceful is to either consider getting the work done in another country or contracting the work out to a third party. However, in the offshoring vs outsourcing debate, it isn’t possible to recommend one over the other without some specifics. Generalizations aren’t possible because everything depends on the nature of the business. Moreover, it isn’t necessary to speak in terms of either/or. In some cases, it’s possible to do a little of both because the two strategies aren’t mutually exclusive.
When trying to decide the best option for your business, it’s important to first analyze your business process. This will then make it easier to weigh the pros and cons of offshoring and outsourcing to decide which will work better for you. However, one thing to bear in mind is that since both strategies affect more than one country, you have to make sure your business is aware of all relevant government rules and regulations. Since these legalities can be highly complex, it might be beneficial to work with a compliance management company. Failure to comply because of ignorance about visas, permits, licenses, foreign exchange rates, etc, is no excuse under the law.
Building a great reputation
In business a good reputation is everything. When businesses go under, it’s because they have acquired a bad reputation. A bad business reputation can be acquired in any number of ways—cutting corners on deals, not paying service providers, negative press, making inaccurate public statements, or simply mismanaging projects. Bad reputations are often built over time as customer complaints increase, bad reviews proliferate, and negative word of mouth spreads.
You probably recognize that deliberately creating a good reputation from the start is the marketing process of personal branding. And while a PR firm and some good advertising can help you launch a promising business, your long-term reputation will come down to how well you build relationships. There is no point in positioning your brand as a value provider when you undermine your own reputation over time through consistent mendacity, chicanery, and corrupt business dealings. However, malfeasance isn’t always necessary to create a bad reputation; inefficiency and incompetency can also ruin your business.
The good news is that when you do cultivate business relationships in the right way, then many doors open up for you. Your target market feels connected to you and not only buy from you but also become spontaneous brand advocates. Strategic partnerships develop almost spontaneously. And stakeholders and community support your bold, new marketing initiatives.
The bottom line: if you don’t have a brand, this is one of the first things you need to do to build your business. Build your brand to build your business — and it works the other way, too.
Nurturing a team spirit.
Without a cohesive, unified team, things can quickly fall apart. You can build a great team by cultivating passion, agility, and innovation.
- · Cultivate passion by developing a vision that everyone buys into.
- · Cultivate agility by reducing red tapes and eliminating unnecessary organizational hierarchies.
- · Cultivate innovation by hiring the best people, treating them well, encouraging creativity on the job, and rewarding great ideas.
What happens when one or more of these pieces are missing?
When these three pieces — resourcefulness, a good reputation, and team spirit aren’t part of the equation, then even a promising market isn’t enough to help a niche business stay in business. An example of things falling apart in a promising market is the story of Solar Direct. In 2016, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEOA), asserted that in 2016, solar sales had almost doubled. While all the reasons for Solar Direct’s bankruptcy filings aren’t clear, it appears that the company wasn’t resourceful when it came to bidding for projects and managing costs; developed a bad reputation for doing shoddy work, and appeared to lack a cohesive team of solar panel installers.