Not all markets are highly competitive. That can be a real advantage if you happen to dominate a niche that no one else can do. Of course, there is a fine line between a niche and a monopoly.
Antitrust is a funny thing that is no laughing matter. Apple started out with two guys in a garage. They could get away with doing just about anything because they were not big enough to matter. Today, Apple gets sued for antitrust for almost everything they do. The way the laws are set up, it is practically impossible to avoid running afoul of antitrust once you reach a certain size.
The things that were legal for you to do when you were small are illegal when you become successful. That is the recipe for confusion. If your entire business model is based on the things you did when you were small, success means you have to completely change your model. That is a lot to ask.
Even when small, your monopoly niche will not stay that way forever. The moment someone notices you are doing well, they will want a piece of the pie no matter how small the pie happens to be. You are going to have to learn how to compete and win. That cannot be avoided.
If your niche is turning into a crowded market, here’s what you do to stay on top.
Know Where To Find the Jobs
If a market is very niche, you might not know where to find the good jobs. Once you find them, you will do well. It is just a matter of knowing how to source them.
The best construction subcontractor jobs might not be listed in your local paper. So you are going to need a resource, especially if you work in a highly specialized niche. You don’t just do drywall. You specialize in building interior archways. That’s a great gig if you can get it. Knowing where to find the gig is most of the battle.
Specialization will help you stand out as a subcontractor. General contractors will need roofing subcontractors all the time. But if you have a specialty such as restoring roofs from the 1930s while preserving their original look and charm, that will make you stand out to a general contractor. She might not need a roofer with that particular specialty. But you will still get the call because they remember you over the other roofers who have no particular specialty.
Find the sources that help you find the job and competitors will never stand a chance.
If you are not honest about your faults, your competitors will be. And they will be happy to launch media campaigns that focus on all the things you do wrong. You can start by doing a competitive analysis for your website. Check your content to make sure it is relevant to your market. Get your backlinks sorted. And become a metadata ninja.
You also need to take a look at what your competitors are doing online to be sure that you are keeping up. There are always tips and tricks your competitors know that you don’t. Find out what your competitors are doing right so that you can do even better. Look at their content creation strategy and find out why your competitors are creating content in clusters. Lastly, do customer surveys so that you know which of your initiatives are working as opposed to the ones that are not producing results. Maintaining a competitive advantage means being aware of your competitors’ weaknesses.
Know When To Fold ‘Em
One of the hardest things for a business owner to know is when to walk away, retool, and try again someplace else. Acknowledging a loss to a stronger competitor is not a bad thing. Cash out and take a break. Throwing good money after bad is always a bad thing.
Nature does not honor nor reward the stubborn person who refuses to bow to reality. Know when you have had a good run, and when that run has come to an end. Live to fight another day.
Even people in small niches have to end up competing. Come out on top by knowing where to find the business, honestly critiquing yourself, and knowing when to call it quits so you can go out on top.