you want to start a business, but the thing that's holding you back is the market niche you know you need to choose. Establishing a niche market give you the opportunity to provide products and services to a group that other businesses have overlooked. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers that have specific needs, a subset of a larger group.
You might find it tricky to come up with a brilliant business idea, particularly if you understand that your startup will need to keep changing and iterating. That’s why some entrepreneurs also recommend coming up with a vision, which stays true even as your company morphs.
When the going gets rough (and it will), you need to be motivated beyond just the lure of dollar signs. If you’re only in it for the money, you’ll either give up or be quickly pushed out of the market by people who genuinely care about what they’re doing and the people they’re helping—they’ll be more motivated than you. For example, you may have an interest in antique rocking horses. Is there a gap in the market for restoring these fabulous old fashioned children's toys?
If you’re not sure what your interests are, or which of them may potentially lead to a profitable business opportunity, ask yourself the following questions. The answers may help you find your way.
- What are your hobbies?
- What is the most meaningful part of your day?
- What are some topics you could enjoy writing a thousand-word article about?
- What do you love doing?
- What is an achievement that’d make you feel particularly proud of yourself?
- Are there any specific aspects or functions that you love about your current job?
- How about any childhood dreams you still find intriguing?
- If you had to choose just one thing to be remembered by, what would it be?
When mulling your business ideas, it’s always wise to consider where your idea fits in the general marketplace. For instance, in 2017 Inc. interviewed experts and examined investment data to find the industries that are beginning to offer major opportunities for new ventures. Here are the ones that held the most promise.
Meditation and mindfulness training. Increased corporate spending on programs to improve employee focus has helped boost an industry that research firm IBISWorld values at $1.1 billion in the United States. App-based training is bringing the practice to an even broader audience.
Ready-to-drink coffee and tea. Consumers are ditching mixes and concentrates in favor of on-the-go coffee and tea, largely driven by health innovations. From 2013 to 2015, U.S. sales of these drinks nearly tripled, landing at $143 million, according to the nonprofit Specialty Food Association.
Mobility tech. This industry offers startups potential partnerships with and acquisition by large tech companies and automakers working on autonomous vehicles. Ford, for example, invested $1 billion in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI in its effort to develop a self-driving car by 2021.
Pet care. Tech innovations are making over this industry, which is valued at $60 billion in the United States. Revenue for pet grooming and boarding alone was nearly $8 billion in the United States. in 2016, according to IBISWorld, which projects it to grow 7 percent annually through 2021.
Construction management. Global funding for hardware and software to streamline building projects, or to sell and rent construction equipment, rose to $254 million in 2015 from $51 million in 2010, according to researcher CB Insights—and analysts say it’s still an emerging industry.
Synthetic biology. Health and environmental concerns have driven interest in genetically engineered medicines, foods, and fuel. It’s a costly and technical field, but payoffs can be huge for companies like DNA manufacturing company Twist Bioscience.
Computer vision. Advancements in artificial intelligence have produced companies working to interpret and act on visual data. The technology, which attracted $522 million and 69 deals in 2016, can be applied to child development, social media networks, and web analytics.
Brick-and-mortar retail technology. Startups are helping modernize in-store operations. One notable example is London-based Iconeme, which created technology that pushes product information from mannequins to nearby shoppers’ smartphones.
Once you’ve pinpointed a pain point and settled on a vision, it’s time to start finessing your startup idea.