How niche business models are leading the startup game
By Himani Ladsariya
While pursuing a business degree at the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, I played laser tag along with my classmates and I really enjoyed it. It was a fun, engaging team sport used by the university as a team building activity.
Upon returning to India after finishing my degree, my aim was to introduce physical gaming in India by conceptualizing new age games that are good icebreakers while being fun to play at the same time. All the activities were oriented towards strengthening team building skills, leadership abilities and interacting with peers in a fun setting. I started researching about games such as laser tag and their feasibility in the Indian market, but the main problem was most people did not know about such activities and games.
This was definitely a hindrance, but also provided an opportunity to build a market in the niche sector of physical gaming. Initially, we started with a bouquet of products, but then quickly realized that as a small business, we were not able to do justice to multiple products. Hence we started focussing on creating a niche in laser tag, which I believe is the key to small business success. By doing so, you can avoid one of the most common mistakes business owners make- of going too broad with their offerings to appeal to everyone and then having trouble getting noticed.
Creating a market for your product
Creating a market for your product can be a very difficult and challenging task. When launching my company I would have to constantly explain to clients, event managers, party organisers what laser tag was, and initial sales were low and getting each new query was a time-consuming process. However, after a few months, our sales picked up because of word of mouth marketing.
As I focussed on a niche product, it was easier to operate with low funds as I did not need a lot of staff, there was less confusion and it was easier to operate. Having a niche makes it far easier to describe to to potential customers what you do and sell it. We were able to focus all our sales and marketing efforts only on laser tag, which ensured that any online searches related to the same would be diverted to us and we were the only company offering the product. It is much easier to target a very specific customer base than it is to try it hit a wide audience. Modern marketing techniques allow targeted advertisements and connections, thereby, lowering marketing costs and allowing higher returns.
Additionally, when operating in a niche marketplace, one also faces lesser competition. Although larger companies may offer some of the same services or products, they cannot do so as well as a micro-business simply because they cannot be experts in everything. Eventually, you could make more money in the long run, as you will be targeting a more specific group rather than one with mass appeal. You can command a premium for your product and services as you are the only one operating in that segment.
New companies should focus their energy on formulating a niche market for their products as more and more specialized concepts are springing up to cater to today's personalized economy. It's a win-win for both the customer who gets what he wants and the entrepreneur who fills a gap thus following his passion and also enjoying financial success.
Himani Ladsariya is the founder of GameGarage.in