Developing a niche

Much time and writing is dedicated to establishing your business in a niche market. What is a niche though? And how do I figure out what niche I want? Both are good questions!

A niche can be defined as offering a specialty product that nobody else in the market is offering, or as providing products and services to a unique segment of the overall market. The more narrowly focused the product or service, the more of a niche you have. Of course, it’s only a niche if nobody else is offering that product, in that space.

The automotive service industry is huge. Most everyone drives at least one automobile and there many services and repairs that are needed. Does this mean that you as a business should try to serve each and every customer while providing every service the customer could possibly need? The temptation is to do just that. Can you survive doing it that way? Sure. Will you thrive? Probably not…if only because every other shop out there is doing the same thing.

Let’s say you want to establish a niche. How do you do it?

There are a number of approaches but let’s keep it simple. Make a list of every shop within a specified radius of your repair shop. You choose the radius. Once you get the list completed, write down what services each offers. Make a note if any of them offer a unique service nobody else offers. It could be alignments, alloy wheel repair, engine machine work, etc. When your list is complete identify any specialty that none of the other shops is offering. Maybe now you’ve found a niche.

Another way of finding a niche is to identify a specific type of customer to provide automotive services to. It could be employees within a specific industry, contractors for instance. It could even be employees of a specific employer if it were large enough. If you’re tempted to establish a niche with a specific type of customer make sure you enjoy doing business with that customer type. As importantly make sure you fully understand that customer and what their needs are. If you and your employees relate to a specific type of customer you will build stronger relationships, enjoy your work more, and ultimately make more money.

Review the VILT program: Establishing Your Niche for more great ideas on how to get started!

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