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The power of the niche

What the niche economy means for small businesses

I have just returned to my homely office after a week away and after having read a powerful new book called The Long Tail. I mention it here as the basic message conveyed through the pages is one that will have a significant impact on the growth of home based business.

The niche economy

Quote�The future of business lies in niche products�End Quote

Author, Chris Anderson, is British by birth but has spent years in the US and is Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine; a well read and well respected publication that covers technology, business, science and cutting edge innovation. Chris's book was born out of an article he wrote for the magazine that was met with a tidal wave like response.

The core message of the book is this:

The future of business does not lie in blockbuster hits but in niche products

All niches, when counted together, make for a significant market

He backs up his argument with facts and figures from companies including Apple, Amazon and DVD retailer Netflix who each confirm that around 98% of their extensive product range is sold at least once per quarter.

Put in another way and quoting the author "We are now a nation of niches. There are still blockbuster movies, hit TV shows and top-selling CDs but fewer events that capture the communal popular culture spirit. The action is elsewhere, with the country watching cable shows or reading blogs that play to a specific audience."

Opportunities for startups

Chris is referring to the US and its economy but the same can be said for the UK where a niche-led economy is opening up opportunities for people to start and grow businesses based at home, focused on niche audiences and products.

I refer once again to Oliver Bridge who started www.biggerfeet.com to offer shoes and socks to people with 'bigger feet' and, in my own business, we cater, through our site and soon to be launched magazine, to a specific audience of homeworkers; a niche of around 8 million people.

The niche economy envisaged by Anderson will enable home enterprise to flourish as people sell their specific skills and intelligence to a specific audience. The inside cover of the book says "Chris provides a glimpse of a future that's almost here." I would proffer that is here right now and those who respond and evolve will be those that truly prosper in the world of The Long Tail.

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