The Internet has become a valuable source of information and purchasing tool for today’s consumer. With the click of a mouse you can find almost anything from products to services on the web, and you can shop for the best prices and values all hours of the day from the convenience of your own home. For some of these same reasons, mail order businesses are also on the rise with consumers finding better values from companies that don’t have the overhead associated with a storefront.
With everything at the consumers?fingertips, the home business owner can also benefit from today’s market culture. Just as consumers can shop from their living rooms and kitchens, business owners can conduct business in the convenience of their own homes. If you are looking to set your own hours, have less commuting time, and enjoy the general freedoms of working for yourself, starting a home business may be right for you.
One important business plan to attend to when you first start developing a home business is to invest time in finding your niche.
So what does this mean, finding your niche? Identifying a niche is about finding a distinct segment of consumer interest, then capitalizing on it. It means finding that particular spot in the business world where you can stand out amongst others. For example there may be hundreds of booksellers out there, but how many specialize in books on a particular interest of yours? If your home business focuses on selling books, you may be competing with the hundreds of other sellers. But if your home business focuses on selling books about outdoor sports, you may find yourself in direct competition with fewer businesses.
Now that you know what a niche is, how do you go about identifying yours? You can start by asking your self a few important questions:
What am I good at?
Take an inventory of your skills. Are you a good mechanic? Are you a wiz with home decorating? Do your friends all come to you when they have computer problems to fix? Do you know almost everything there is to know about a particular topic? Find the things you already have some skill in, and start a list. You may be surprised where your talents lie.
What do I enjoy doing?
What things do you love to do so much that you would probably do them whether there was a profit involved or not? The best place to start with this question is to look at your hobbies. These are often the things you pay a fairly significant amount of money to be involved in. Why not check it out to see if you can make a profit at these very same things? Starting a home business can take a lot of time and effort, and having a passion for the focus of your business can be a great source of the stamina necessary to make it through the difficulties in the beginning.
What is there a need for?
After you jot down what you are good at and what you love to do, it’s time to assess the market for these things. Are you always looking for supplies for your hobby, but can’t ever seem to find what you need? It’s very likely others are having the same difficulty, and a home business that supplies this need would be very well received by this segment of the market. Or maybe you love to decorate your kids?birthday cakes, and your neighbors would rather pick theirs up at the local grocery store but can’t stand the small selection. This is a market for which you already have the skills and interest to meet the needs.
If you are planning to do your business entirely on the Internet, one great tool you can use to check whether there is market for your idea is the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool: http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
You simply enter the keyword that people might use to search for your product and it’ll return the number of times that term was searched on last month. Amazing isn’t it?
But don’t be afraid of markets where you may have some skill, but have a lot to learn. As long as you have the willingness to put time and effort into becoming an expert in your niche, you will be able to develop the specialization you need to be a leader in the market.
Once you answer these questions and find the distinct area that will set your business apart from others, you have identified your niche and are ready to develop your home business.
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of Home Based Business opportunities - A website dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources for starting a home based business. Visit him