So after months of brainstorming, thinking, back-and-forths, you’ve finally narrowed down your business focus. You’ve decided what product/service you’re going to sell. Before you order those business cards, have you considered your market?
Meaning, do you know how many people would want what you have to offer? Is your market big enough? Is it too small that you won’t be able to meet your financial goals? These are all questions you should be answering before you take any more steps.
If you don’t narrow down your market significantly, you end up trying to please everyone – meaning you please no one. This mass-market approach leaves you battling larger businesses that are already known leaders in that particular field.
On the other side of the coin, when choosing a niche for your business, you can also risk going too narrow. This can lead to a minimal client base or prospect pool.
So how do you evaluate your niche to see if it’s going to be profitable? There are lots of free tools to do so.
Let Google Do The Work
Google is far and away the most popular search engine in the world. Used correctly, it can reveal some relevant information concerning the potential profitability of any business.
Type the general name of your niche into Google’s search engine. A recent search for Gardening and Horticulture turned up over 11 million results. It’s going to be tough to crack into that market. Narrow your search and aim for less – preferably less than 500,000 results.
Be sure to also pay attention to any “Ad” icons you see. If there are several companies advertising services in your niche marketplace, that is a great sign. This is where Google places paid advertisements. If companies are willing to pay for expensive Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, there is money to be made in that market.
Type industry-specific keywords and phrases into Google’s search engine. If you get fewer results, this tells you it would be very easy to rank web pages using that specific keyword phrase. Do this for other important words and phrases that you think people might be searching for in your niche.
The Google Adwords Keyword Planner
The Google Adwords Keyword Planner is another excellent tool to validate your business niche. It shows you how many people search for specific phrases and words every month. If you’ve tried it before, and it kept forcing you to create an ad, don’t give up. You can get search results without creating an ad.
To do this, make sure you’re using an incognito window in your browser, so it forgets your history. Click “Sign In.” And then click “Skip the guided setup.” Don’t put your email address or website information. Then on the next page, you can put in your information and sign in.
On the next screen, click the little wrench in the upper left-hand corner. There will be lots of choices, but you want the “Keyword Planner” under “PLANNING.” Then you can type in your words or phrases.
I hope you’ll give these tools a try and they help validate your business idea. Good luck! 🙂