All right, I need to start off by answering the question I always get from entrepreneurs, and that is "Adrian, what trend should I be taking advantage of right now?" They want to know how I'm able to jump on trends before they're in the mainstream. I get this all the time and it's something I'm going to address with you today. Here's the secret: Don't go after trends. A lot of entrepreneurs try to catch up with fast moving trends that die before they can even launch their store.
It's a game that will never be won and you'll tire yourself out trying to make it work. Instead, successful entrepreneurs identify their niche first, what I like to call an evergreen niche. Now, a niche is a subsection of the population who can be identified by sharing a common value or interest as other people, like, for example, comic book lovers or fishing enthusiasts or flower arranging specialists.
Yes, niches can get extremely specific, and that's great for your business. The more focused the interests of your audience are, the easier it is to separate them out from the general population. Sure, it can feel good to capitalize on a trend but the money will be gone just as quickly as it came in, and niche-focused business is going to grow for the long term, slow and steady, meaning you can always have income coming in.
I can tell you that even the businesses I started a few years ago are still generating income for me and they're basically on autopilot at this point which is awesome. I don't have to be hands-on or worried about trends suddenly disappearing. I took the time, early on, to find a underserved niche market and to build a business around it. So, when you start looking for niches too, here are three things you need to look for: First, it needs to be unique.
What are the defining traits that set it apart from larger audiences? What is it that makes it easier to target? Second, it needs to be identifiable. How do you pick out those people from a crowd? Are the unique traits something you can search or learn from your audience? It's easy to identify people who like chocolate because you could target interests like that on Facebook. But can you easily identify people who like giving chocolate as gifts?
That might be a bit more challenging. When it comes to your niche, specific is good but only to the point where you can still easily identify them. Lastly, when it comes to your niche you want it to be scalable. If the audience is too small, you're gonna have to reposition your business down the road. So instead of building a brand for a specific sports team, consider building a brand that can speak to more sports fans at large.
Listen, there's only so many cowboys fans, but if you're able to scale your business to serve many groups of fan, you'll be in a much better place. When you're building your business around an evergreen niche, you're setting yourself up for longevity, security and stability as a business. You're not subject to trends that come and go. Your store serves a specific group of people who love the products that you sell. So when someone comes along and tells you about an up-and-coming trend you should build your business around, forget it.
In order to build a long term business, you want to focus on your niche first. Now, we'll come back to capitalizing on trends. But for now, identifying your niche is your first step. Now, the real challenge. How do you identify a niche to build your business around? I always like to start this by thinking about what people are passionate about.
Easy ones: kids, pets, sports. Parents love their children, pet owners love their animals. I mean, I know I love my pups. Sports fanatics are just crazy about sports. Any of these niches will get you in a good position. But consider diving in a bit deeper. Remember, if it only takes you five minutes to research and identify a niche, it only takes someone else five minutes too.
You'll be bogged down in heavy competition, bidding for your audience's attention. It's not impossible but unless you are a seasoned entrepreneur, I advise going after underserved audiences first. Take some time to do more research on popular hobbies. Even a quick Google search will show you a long list of popular hobbies. Personally, I think you should build a business around a hobby you're passionate about.
If it's something you're truly passionate about and understand, you'll be more motivated to make it successful. And since you know about the audience, you'll have a head start. So, when it comes to building your niche, find a popular hobby, hopefully one that you like too, and start researching. You have a few tools that you can use to understand if you're picking a strong niche.
Use Google Trends as a simple way to get started. You can just enter search terms and topics and see how popular they are. It's really easy. This tells you if people are searching for specific things related to your niche. My all time favorite research tool, though, is Facebook's Audience Insights. You need a Facebook advertising account for this, but it is totally worth it. It's free to set up and it's definitely worth your time.
In the Audience Insights dashboard, you can start to get a sense of how large your niche is. Focus in on specific cities or countries and get a better understanding of what your niche's interests are. A quick search of people who like fishing in the United States shows there is a market size of 25 million. You can also see the most popular magazine in that niche is "Field & Stream" and most popular music genres are classic rock and country.
You don't need every detail, but Audience Insights still gives you a really great look at who your target customer is within your niche. So, let's recap. First, forget about trends –for now at least– we'll come back to them later. Second, focus on a niche that's unique, identifiable and scalable. And lastly, use different tools to research your niche, understand what that audience is passionate about and what makes them tick.
With this strategy, you're building a business for the long term. Steady, safe and consistent. You're in it for the long term.