strategies posted in business strategies  on 11 January 2007
by Andrew Lang 
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Finding a niche on the net by careful research

There are a lot of things to consider before launching an online business - the most primary being the business model itself - what is the purpose of the website? What are the chances of this purpose being fulfilled?

If it's to sell running shoes, then that particular online market should be explored. Is it a viable market? Is it already saturated with competition? If so, are there any niches in the market that could be exploited?

Either you're incredibly lucky to find yourself with an untapped customer base on the net (highly unlikely) or you're going to need to carve out a niche in an already established market.

A lot of online businesses fail because they don't offer anything unique to the visitor - they're no different to their competition - same products, similar prices, similar promises of service - they're invisible.

A lot of ideas quite rightly don't materialize into websites - they may just not be feasible given the resources at hand, or the market may be too competitive for the seller to feel confident in entering.

Given there are practically an infinite number of ideas to choose from, it's no waste to turn down some ideas before they get to the drawing board - the main thing is to research each idea carefully first - what are the competition's strategies? (these are often obvious by visiting their websites). Do keyword searches on search engines that are relevant to the market you're considering entering. Start a Google Ads campaign and see how much these keywords cost per click. If they're expensive, the market is saturated. It doesn't mean it's a mistake to enter the market, but you should definitely find something unique to stand out from the crowd.

Even after formulating a robust business plan, it still needs to be executed professionally. And this is where web development comes into play (part #2 tomorrow).

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