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Most businesses in Africa suffer not from an absence of resources but mainly from a lack of focus.

Although, many still attribute their business failures to political, economic, social, or other environmental factors. Those might not be the reason, since there are scores of men and women who are making it big time, despite the fore-named factors.

It gives me much concern as I see business people trying to be different things to different people, and yet complain about the turn of events. You can’t be everything to every man. When you don’t focus on a selected segment of the market, you limit your potential for growth.

You are mostly special when you specialize in your business. So, focus on your unique selling proposition – the one thing that makes you special and also differentiates you from the competition. Like Tom Peters will say, ‘If you are not unique, why bother?’

Your business should be your own authentic approach to fixing market frictions in a unique fashion. It means that you meet needs like no other. Certain people are more likely to want and need your solution than others. Focus on them.

By concentrating on the selected market, you achieve a high result, and with time perceived as the best option in that category. Your business becomes stronger when you reduce the scope of your fleeting interest. Giving full attention to one thing at hand is the hallmark of high performance. Sadly, many businesses try to fix things rather than drop them.

To be more of one thing, it’s natural that you have to be less of other things. You can stand for something if you chase after everything. To achieve this, you have to think differently. You have to think niche!

Think niche

Whenever you think niche, you think rich. In niches are the market riches. I ran into an expression some time ago and had to note it: niches and rags have one thing in common; they are often neglected. Does that apply to you? Here’s what an expert said about it: ‘If you are not reconfiguring your organization to become a fast-changing, high-value-adding creator of niche markets, you are simply out of step.’

Your niche business is the segment(s) that represents your best chance of getting a good return for your business efforts. It is a focused targetable portion (subset) of a market, that when served well, will profitably keep you in business.

To succeed in today’s competitive market; you need to concentrate all your strength on a well-chosen segment into which you can pour all your resources. The key idea in nichemanship is specialization. This is the age where professionalism excels. And at the root of professionalism is specialization. Successful enterprises specialize.

People should know what you stand for and what you don’t stand for. Don’t just try to be better, try to be different. Being different is the key to making a difference. The generalist is weak; the specialists are strong. ‘When you try to be all things to all people’ Al Ries a marketing guru taught, ‘you inevitably wind up in trouble.’

There’s also an old saying that: I’d rather be strong somewhere than weak everywhere. More is less, and less is more. Choose an area in which to pitch your tent, and real men would run under your roof with treasures in their hands. What would you do differently? Start doing them now. Niches are a goldmine. Discover them and dig them!

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