2016 is your year. Now is the time to kick that business plan you’ve been mulling over into high gear, and actually start your own online business. Turning-up your corporate online charm will transform your business plan into something that requires minimal start-up capital, but potentially yields huge returns.

The savvy entrepreneur would know that the last decade has seen key shifts in the readiness of consumers towards purchasing both products and services online, and this shift is not limited to the consumer space – 2015 has seen a major rise in business-to-business online opportunities as well. With internet usage increasing daily, the step towards doing business online is becoming a natural reflex, now, more than ever before.

So how can you get in on this online business action today? With increased opportunity, comes increased competition, so even though the timing may be right, starting your own online business is something you can’t just slap-out without a proper strategy. In this article, we’ll outline a few tips on how to pick a niche and really own the space you want sell online.

You Don’t Have to Start from Scratch – Just do it Better

Do it BetterYour business can’t offer what everyone else is already offering, but at the same time, it’s a pretty tall order to try think of offering something completely new. Trying to play the expert at something brand new is not only tricky to come up with; it’s also an unknown terrain for you to work with.

A good place to start is to actually think about; your market, your niche, what’s working, what’s not working? Then try to identify the unmet needs in the niche you are now in the know about. It could be something simple like; offering an added sense of value to customers, or taking a common process and making it more efficient. Who doesn’t like a time-saving process?

But how will you know that you’re actually doing something better than others? It’s simple; experience your brand and the market it’s in, through the eyes of your potential customers. Taking the approach of wanting to make things better, start by identifying a few personas found in your target market. Then think about the way those personas touch points with your products or services, and compare them to how they touch points with your potential competitors. Read online forums, explore market related blogs, and experience your customer’s frustration and satisfaction levels. Then consolidate to address your customer’s unmet needs.

Don’t try to be Everything to Everybody – Specialize

Now that you have an idea of your market and target audience, focus on the details of what you want to offer. This doesn’t mean that you have to think small, it just means that you need to be focused on being the best in one particular space (at a time). Essentially, you’ll need to position yourself as the go-to person for that space, and this takes commitment and passion, which is why you’ve got to be sure that you love the field of business you’ve chosen.

Here are a few reasons why there’s value in specializing:

  • The deeper you go into a market, the less competitive it becomes. This means that there will be more opportunity for you to be featured as an expert in the online space.
  • Your appearances on Google will become more dominant every time people input specific key phrases related to your specialization.
  • The connections you’ll make with these ‘specific Google searchers’ will result in a higher hit-rate and a stronger bond. It’s more likely that these people would want to do business with you and/or find your input valuable.
  • Having deeper connections and a stronger online community will then give you the opportunity to promote your services/products in an environment that has a high probability of yielding sales.

You don’t need to dominate the entire market. If you’re good at what you do, owning a small section of it will be more effective than spreading yourself thinly.

Communicating Your Niche to the Online World

In the digital world, having the right keyword strategy for your online business cannot be stressed enough. It’s not easy finding the correct keyword selection on your own but there are many online tools you can use to assist you like; Google’s Keyword Tool or a paid-for subscription like Market Samurai. Remember that you’ll want to make use of keywords with lower competition, and then ensure that you create the best content available on the market around those keywords.

On a final note, keep analyzing, reviewing and improving your position in the market – once you’ve found your niche and it’s actually working, there’s a possibility that someone else will try to challenge your dominance, so make every effort to be on top of your online game.