You will hear entrepreneurial leaders and other talking heads (Seth Godin, can you hear me?) telling us to find our niche. As I was watching a Twitter feed during lunch on the day of the manhunt for the (alleged) Boston Marathon bomber, it struck me how unimportant nearly all the voices (tweets) were, at least to me. They were all just a bunch of noise.
Why is finding your niche so important? It is easy to look out into the world and easily become overwhelmed by the flood of information. You have a product, a service, or an idea that you want to share with the world, but you will more than likely be drowned out, unless you start with your niche. Take the case of the Twitter posts I mentioned above: nobody cares about your comments unless you have active followers. Finding your niche is the best way to be heard through all the noise.
Don’t worry about being listed on the Amazon best seller’s list or getting a call for an interview by Wired, Inc., or Fast Company. Focus on your niche first. I have learned this lesson over the years. When I started this company, I had grand hopes and dreams for this company to become a large player in the ERP space, providing implementation services across the full spectrum of Oracle E-Business Suite modules. I never put much effort into that bigger plan for a variety of reasons, and frankly I am glad that I did not. Instead, I focused on being really good and getting better at just one area: Human Capital Management (a/k/a HRMS). Although I read this more than a decade ago and can’t remember who said it, this is the age of the specialist.
The reason the niche matters is because people who care about what you sell or say will be the ones listening. It is much easier get the attention of 200 people than 200,000,000 people. If the message is important or interesting enough, those 200 will make sure it spreads to a larger audience. The important thing is to find your niche, decide if there is growth, and then get in and build.
The book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is next on my reading list, which addresses platform creation. The platform is one of the concepts Seth Godin proposes in his book Linchpin, another book that I consider recommended reading. I will offer my thoughts after I’ve read it.
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As a general rule, I spend no time on Twitter. I will usually visit when I want to see how a big new event trends, especially from people on the ground. Aside from that, I am only there when I post updates to this blog.