Benefits of Being a Niche Player- Carving out a Niche – Part 2

Last time I wanted to emphasize the importance of carving out a niche. But how does all that theory apply to your business? Hopefully, part two will give some actionable ideas that you can implement right now.

 

So we left off asking the following question: “Are you providing VALUE to your customers with your offering?” The old thinking said that you were. But that was goods-dominated thinking that made this claim, because as you make something you are adding Value to it. So who decides what’s valuable? It’s not you, it’s the customer. It’s ALWAYS the customer who decides if something is valuable or not—and this is especially true in the context of where they are using it. This is service-dominated thinking.

 

Someone once drove this point home by giving me an example of a hot dog stand, asking what one would need to make it successful. Our workshop team came up with all sorts of responses such as superior positioning, better hotdog buns, great sauce, etc. But the correct answer was, “a ravenous crowd.” All those other things meant nothing without a hungry crowd of customers. That’s what context is all about.

 

So what creates value is the combination of the resources you put forward and the resources the customer has (knowledge, skill, knowing how to eat with chopsticks, etc) and then USING those resources in the correct CONTEXT. That brings you back to meeting the niche need, and that’s the job that the customer wants to see fulfilled? You succeed best when you add your capabilities and resources to those of your customers in order to co-create value.

 

Is your service delivery going to be perfect from day one? If it is, you’ve probably been missing the boat in terms of lost earnings. The best way to build your niche from scratch is to offer the minimum viable product you can to a limited number of customers. Learn from their feedback. You might be lucky enough to get feedback which will prompt you to redesign into an offering more in line with what people really want—not what you think they want. Use the profits from those few sales to refine your offering for 10 times as many people. Learn and refine again, and keep repeating this process.

 

The other aspect of this cycle that I really like is that each new offering is a breath of fresh air for your existing customers. It gives them renewed interest in spreading the word about your brand.

 

Competition among restaurants is fierce, and many turn little-to-no profit. In the city of Ubud alone, Trip Advisor ranks 279 restaurants—a number which is up from 259 in three months. The more successful ones are certainly those that have carved out a niche for themselves. But the MOST successful are those with a clear niche that is very focused on helping their customers meet a specific customer need. Their success is derived from performing that offering with service excellence.

 

Some use fine dining, some use entertainment, some use regional cuisine, some specialise in coffee, some in organic food and/or vegetarian, and some even have their own groupies. Customer needs in a restaurant are varied and staff at the very best restaurants can quickly recognize how the customer wants to make use of your resources; in their context and at that time.

 

People in a hurry have a totally different service need than those out to celebrate a birthday. On the other hand, a boisterous birthday celebration has a different customer set of needs than a romantic wedding anniversary. But whatever their current need is, your aim as the restaurant owner is to convert them into regulars who are happy to consider your place one of their top three.

 

Graeme Stevens
CEO and Co-Founder
neXtep easy
www.nextepeasy.com

 

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