September 11, 2018

When is a niche small enough to attack? When is it too small?

Most people have the problem, that they are going into market to broad. In my case I have trouble finding a niche big enough.

Situation:

In the past I was cofounding and beeing the CTO of a social media agency developing facebook apps (5y, 30FTE, bootstrapped) and a Influencer Marketing SaaS (2,5y, 25 FTE, venture backend) while consulting some freelance clients on the side.

Now i am in between companies. My goal is to bootstrap a SaaS business on the side for some constant MRR in the 4 digit area -> this is my ultimate goal.

Because of my personal burn rate (family + mortage) I currently split my time 50/50 between freelance consulting doing stuff I did for my past companies (business model evalution, ux, prototype development, product management, scaling engineering, technology vision, engineering processes, etc. ).

Due to my past I have a strong network for my consulting skills, but this is not limited to a specific customer niche. There are small and medium businesses, funded startups, single founders, agencies, as clients.. overall it is maybe frameable as a “marketing” niche. So I do not worry about consulting or running out of money.

But I have trouble finding a niche for a new startup business where I want to go market first:

  • I want something very close to my skills, because I assume that I have to create a lot of content to support the business for organic and sustainable growth. So it should not be too far away from my skills. Also in and also want my consulting business to benefit from it while bootstrapping..

  • As a self fundet startup I want a market, that is already looking for certain products, even if it doesn’t exist. (to quote Rob Walling)

For my interests (minimum viable product, prototyping, business model canvas, and so on) I found an audience online (around 50-200k searches per month per every one of those topics ), but they seem not directly to look for something specific. Everything more specific, solution oriented, will be bellow 10k searches / month from google. Most of possible solutions I can come up with are in the 3 digit area when I search it up in the google keyword tool.

So I am puzzled if I should pursue the area where I have skills and built an audience (maybe cash in later with a tool) or should continue looking for other opportunities. Maybe something more in the marketing area where I also have expertise?

Thanks for your answers!


  1. 4

    A niche is too small when it cannot give you a decent living.

    If 100 people can make you comfortable and independent, go for it. If you only need 50, even better.

    Having said that, if you go for small niches, make sure you expand into other niches as soon as possible. Never put all your eggs in one basket.

    Attacking a niche is not a one off thing. It is just one thing that you do.

    1. 2

      good thought. was totally thinking too much in larger volumes.

  2. 3

    Just a quick thought (don't have much time)...

    If you're already doing some consulting work and have an area of expertise, why not think about a piece of work you have to implement each time for customers and 'productise' it?

    1. 2

      By productise I mean literally turn it into a SaaS tool or similar, not just offer the service as a product.

    2. 1

      yes, I have my eyes open for this anyway! Mostly there are conceptual questions , though. Very different each times.

  3. 1

    Question:

    "I found an audience online (around 50-200k searches per month per every one of those topics ), but they seem not directly to look for something specific"

    How were you able to measure this?

    1. 1

      Good question. They are searching for the topic, for example "minimum viable product", oder "minimum viable product example" but this is not an ongoing problem to solve - but more an education topic. For me it is hard to come up with a need arround this topic.

  4. 1

    Don't worry if you don't have the skills yet, most expertise is gained by having the confidence to tackle anything to solve the problem.

    The operative word is determination.

    1. 1

      my main problem is that I have trouble finding problems worth solving. :)

      1. 2

        That's precisely my problem too. We as

        tech consultants handle clients across all domains but fail to gain knowledge within a domain and therefore don't understand problems within a specific domain. I guess probably the best thing for tech consultants is to talk to existing customers to see if we can productise a project that we've helped them with and may be they'll say "oh yes! This project is way ahead of competition solving xyz for abc customers". Now the game is on and all you have to do is partner with your customer and productize+ market it. This works only if your customer is a not another tech company or their core business is totally different from the project you've built for them.

        1. 1

          thanks for your toughts! This endeed is a very good option