Last month, when speaking at the 2010 Ecommerce Summit someone asked me  “If there was one piece of advice you would give to up and coming online sellers, what would it be?”

My answer to this question is always the same and it applies no matter what you sell or where you sell it.

Your best opportunity for creating a successful business on the Internet is to…

Find a niche and FOCUS.

  • If you’re a jack of all trades, master of none,  it’s time to find a niche!
  • If you’re spreading yourself thinly between three different eBay stores and 12 different types of products and none of them are up and running profitably, it’s time to find a niche.
  • If you’re selling information products on health and fitness, starting an eBay store that sells used computer parts and trying to monetize a green-cleaner website all at the same time, it’s time to find a niche and focus!

Over the years, in working with thousands of online sellers in11 different countries, selling in more than 2300 different niche markets, sub-niches and micro-niches –  one common thread runs through the most successful businesses…

Each one is succeeding in a niche market.

You see, once you’ve identified a profitable niche to serve, you can monetize that niche many different ways.   But without that niche identified you’ll find yourself chasing market after market, opportunity after opportunity, never making any traction or money.

Many would-be business owners find themselves dabbling in multiple niche markets, putting in 10% of their time and attention on each.  But 10% effort in 10 different niche markets does not add up to a 100% income.

You need to first be 100% focused on serving a niche and maximize the monetization of that niche to enjoy  a 100% income.

Because of the importance of this topic, I’m putting together a series here on my blog, showcasing some successful niche businesses and explaining why they work.  Additionally I’ll be explaining  how you can implement this in your business.

So let’s start first, by talking about 7 business reasons why you should find a niche and focus! (Note: There are many more reasons than this, but let’s start with 7.)

7 Reasons to Find a Niche and FOCUS

1. You can’t be everything to everybody. At first glance, this seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of business owners I see trying.  This especially afflicts new Internet business owners, who see the internet business buffet and want to sample everything. The problem is that this sampling goes on long past “happy hour” and into the “main meal” – the point at which you should be building a business that is hearty, focused and nourishing to your bank account.

2. The money comes from knowing your market. What does your market want? What are their problems? What are they buying? How do they like to be marketed to? Where do they hang out? It takes time to really get to know your market. If you don’t know your market, you won’t know what to sell to them and how to sell it. If you sell baby products, how to make money with Google Adsense eBooks, and affiliate products for pomeranians, you won’t have enough time to find out about ANY of those markets.  So you’ll throw a bunch of stuff up on the Internet and hope someone buys. And then they don’t.  Contrast this to selling baby products, eBooks about parenting and affiliate products in the baby niche and now you’re cookin’!

By the way, I call this my Niche Monetizer Method™, but that’s a subject for a later post.

3. It takes money to monetize a niche. If you sell physical products, in order to find the products buyers want, get the best inventory and stock your store, you need to attend trade shows, read industry publications, purchase information on your niche. This alone could cost you several  thousand dollars a year. You may attend the Sporting Goods Trade Show a couple times a year, subscribe to a couple sporting goods industry publications and consumer publications. You may make a few other buying trips during the year to source inventory.

4. Google loves themed, quality sites. This means a niche site with content, audio, video and products all geared toward achieving the same objective.  Want to sell products in the juggling niche? Your site must not only have products, but also content to go with it.  If you have a site that is not niche focused, creating a quality, themed site is impossible to do.

5. Become a destination site online. As a small to medium-sized business, you need to be a go-to destination in your site  in your niche. A well optimized site, featuring the products and services that people want is the path to becoming a destination site online.  If I’m a customer looking for a unique prom dress, I want to browse a site that specializes in prom dresses, with a depth of selection and a knowledgeable customer service staff.  If I’m shopping an eBay store for a prom dress, I don’t want to be looking at running shoes and circular saws being displayed next to the pink frilly prom desk I’m looking at.

6. Branding for the big bucks. Focusing on a niche enables you to build a brand. Your logo, the look and feel of your store and website, your blog, all play an important role in building your brand online. In my upcoming blog series, I’ll show you some examples of online sellers who have built a strong brand  – brands which is now getting people to sit up and take notice!

7. The number of hours you have in each day are limited, with a niche focus you leverage those hours. The Law of Attraction says “What you focus on expands.”  Lisa’s Law of Action says “What you take action expands.”  And the way to leverage your actions is to get more than one benefit from that action.  For example, let’s say that you’re selling info products in the sizzling hot niche, in-city vegetable gardening.  You write the eBook (or have it written), create some article marketing articles, identify your niche keywords and put together your Keyword Bank™ – you can now leverage all these actions into more advertising and marketing.  The article marketing articles are now re-purposed as blog posts or tweets, your keywords are used to optimized your sales page, and the associated products you are selling on eBay. And your eBook becomes a stand-alone product or a bonus for the physical products you sell or your new home study course.

In the span of two days, you’ve leveraged the actions you’ve taken in one niche.

And of course, once you get the system down for monetizing one niche, then it’s lather, rinse, repeat for the next one!

Ask Yourself Today.  “What is my niche?”

How about you? “What niche do you currently sell in?”  or “What niche will you focus on?” The answer to that question is key to your next steps.

Throughout this blog series, I’ll be showcasing businesses who are monetizing in several different niche markets.

Coming up first in our series…

1. From the Variety Store Model to Rapid Niche Success we’ll look at an entrepreneur from Australia who started selling in the variety store model on eBay, but whose business really took off when he started focusing on a niche.

– Lisa