Meet Noni, Small Businesses: Find your niche

Thursday member spotlight: On Thursdays, we like to introduce you to a fellow myMarketing Cafe member. This might be through a guest blog post or by our sharing about a member and their business.

Noni Wang
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce Noni Wang. Noni is a recent graduate of Brown University with a degree in psychology. She is currently the Social Media Specialist for Yumdom. After working for small start-ups, Noni developed an interest in how marketing can help new businesses. She is sharing the value of targeting a market niche. Read her advice below and connect with her on LinkedIn.


Small Businesses: Find Your Niche

Auntie Annes ImageAuntie Anne’s started out as store in a farmers’ market selling pretzels and pizzas. It was only when their focus turned specifically to making and selling pretzels for busy on-the-go people that business boomed (Eng, 23).


Although it is tempting to try to sell everything and appeal to everyone, small businesses have a better chance of competing with large businesses if they target a market niche and customer niche. “Niche” means specialized. For example, during a trip to New Orleans I found Cafe Carmo, which specialized in organic tropical food. The cafe opened just a few years ago, but it had already gained a large fan base and high reviews on Tripadvisor because it had a clear customer niche: vegetarians, vegans, and health-conscious eaters.

Just having a niche, however, does not guarantee success. The success of a niche also depends on the location and if there is a market for your product and if your product can bring in continuous revenue.  One of the only businesses still surviving in my small town is the Ace Hardware store. It is successful because no other stores in town carry as many hardware products as they do and their products bring in continuous revenue.

Continuous revenue is the result of customers consistently buying your products.  A few years ago, Edible Arrangements opened a store in town and then closed after just one year. Even though they had a market niche, they could not make money because people didn’t need chocolate-dipped bouquets every week or even every month. It lacked continuous revenue.

In summary, here are four things to keep in mind before opening your business:

1. What is your market niche? Market what your competition doesn’t have.

2. Who do you want to attract with your products? Working mothers, vegetarians, tourists, college students, etc.

3. Location location location: Is there or could there be a demand for your products in the area you are planning to build your business?

4. Will your products bring in consistent revenue or will your business rely on special occasions and holidays for revenue?

Dinah Eng. “Soft Pretzels out of Hard Times” Fortune 22, July 2013: pages. 24 Print.

  • Word Ninja Sounds great. Thank you!

  • jolynndeal I’m going to send you something I was just watching today about this. 🙂

  • Word Ninja  I’ve always struggled with the niche idea myself, Amanda. I think I’ve been afraid of limiting my opportunities. But then I realize being really good means getting to know an industry. That way when businesses hire you, they don’t have to do so much onboarding or training. You’re already a specialist in the industry. For me, it’s a tough call too.

  • Nice article, Noni. I’m still discovering my niche, although I’m not sure as a writer I would want to only create for one type of industry. I do specialize in a few, however. You pose great questions that I’ll keep in mind as I move forward with my freelance writing business. Btw, Yumdom’s site is very cool! It reminds me of a dim sum menu. 🙂

  • Hi Noni! As a small biz owner who is constantly reworking my niche (I get a bit closer each time), I LOVE the questions you shared. They’re to the point & effective. Once I can answer all of them with conviction, I do believe I’ll have found my niche. Until then, they’re great for me to keep referring to so that I can keep narrowing down my focus. THANKS for sharing!