Riches in Niches

Donita Rose on the cover of MoneySense Magazine

Mass marketing is dead. Or so that’s what everybody says. Although I wouldn’t call mass markets non-existent (there’s a good reason the big television networks and telcos are still raking it in), there is no doubt there’s been a proliferation of niche markets as never before. For sure, prosperity and technology have given rise to niches. As economies develop, so do people’s income. And with that comes choices. Think “tall white chocolate mocha Frappuccino – no whipped cream, please.” Technology, particularly the Internet, has also facilitated the surge of niches, which author Daniel Pink referred to as “The Long Tail” in a distribution curve, where there’s an infinite number of songs, movies, books, and other products that have found a
tiny but constant market demand.

That is why regular folks, including many Filipinos, are able to sell rare collectibles, obscure items, and all sorts of doodads on sites like eBay and Multiply, because the cost of marketing and distribution is so slow and
somewhere out there is a potential customer interested to buy.
So here’s my point: to succeed in today’s world, you have to find your own profitable niche. Whether it’s your career or business, being all things to everyone doesn’t work anymore. It may be good to be a generalist in terms of broadening your skills but to stand out, you have to find your specialization.

Take this magazine for instance. MoneySense is the only local magazine on personal finance. That’s a niche. My small business, Learning Curve (www.iluvlearning.com), is a producer of conferences and seminars on personal finance and entrepreneurship. We target mainly SME owners and mid-level managers, and so we design our content and price our fees accordingly. Personally, I have found my niche in the information business as a magazine editor and conference/seminar producer focused on three areas: personal
finance, small business, and technology.

So if you want to be a chef, you should be a pastry chef specializing in wedding cakes (like Heny Sison). If you want to be a lawyer, specialize in intellectual property law for the information technology sector (like JJ Disini). If you want to be designer, focus on furniture design (like Kenneth Cobonpue). If you want to sell on eBay, sell Filipino collectibles (like Eireen Diokno-Bernardo). If you want to start a shipping and logistics, focus on offering marketing services (like Vcargo’s Paulo Tibig). If you plan to become a software mogul, become a Microsoft certified partner (like Joey Gurango). If you want to be a motivational speaker, focus on leadership (like Francis Kong). If you want to work in financial services, become a fund manager (like our five money managers featured starting on p. 48). If you have to be a celebrity, specialize in television hosting
(like our cover girl Donita Rose on p. 44).

It doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else. Of course you can get into another niche business or start another niche career, but you always have to think in terms of finding a niche. So how do you find your niche? First, find something you really love and you’re really good at and then drill down on more specific
talents or skills that make you stand out (e.g. if you love writing, you might realize what you really love is copywriting, not writing poetry). Second, find a sector you want to get into that’s growing and then break that down in subsectors (e.g. if you want to get into the real estate sector, you might discover your best bet is in renovating and selling dilapidated apartments, not building houses from scratch).

Riches really are in niches. Read the excerpt from the best-selling book by Singapore-based Thomas Fernandez and Sant Qiu “Niche Dominators: Success Secrets Exposed) to give you more ideas on how to find your niche. Better yet, grab a copy of that book and their previous title “Secrets to Dominate Your
Niche.” Special thanks to Nikko Lim for facilitating everything.

Enjoy this issue!

HEINZ G. BULOS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
hbulos@moneysense.com.ph

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