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6 Cool Examples of Successful Niche Businesses

March 27th, 2012 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Featured, Marketing, Niche Businesses, Starting Out

The secret to a successful niche business is realizing that it isn’t about you. It’s about the customer.” —Glenda Ervin, vice president of marketing for Lehman’s

Ervin is absolutely correct. Niche businesses meet needs. Niche businesses solve problems. Niche businesses ease the pain.

Here are six examples of how enterprising solopreneurs identified needs, created fabulous niches, and built thriving businesses.

1. The Need: Retribution
The Business: Dirty Rotten Flowers
How large is the broken-hearted niche? Oh my. Roman Sacke started Dirty Rotten Flowers to find out. DRF creates unique bouquets that the wronged can send to people who wronged them. Products include: The Morticia (“one dozen decapitated roses from someone with a wicked sense of humor”) and I Love You Not (“one dozen twisted red carnations accompanied by our deconstructed teddy bear”).

2. The Need: Nonelectrical tools and appliances
The Business: Lehman’s
Lehman’s is an Ohio company that began in 1955 by selling nonelectrical tools and appliances to the local Amish community. Today Lehman’s is an internationally known company.

From their Web site: “Lehman’s ships old-fashioned, non-electric merchandise all over the world through our catalogs and website. Our diverse customer base includes missionaries and doctors working in developing countries; homesteaders and environmentalists living in remote areas; people with unreliable electricity living on islands and mountains; second home owners, hunters, fishers and cabin dwellers; the “chronically nostalgic,” and even Hollywood set designers looking for historically accurate period pieces.”

3. The Need: Custom Web analytics
The Business: Mixpanel
Social-media companies, online gaming companies, and application-development companies needed a way to move past page views and measure user engagement and interaction. Two Arizona State students developed a solution and in 2009 launched Mixpanel, whose slogan is “Actions speak louder than page views.”

4. The Need: Personal- and business-development services
for introverts

The Business: The Introvert Entrepreneur
Using personal traits to identify potential niches is brilliant, and it illustrates that the number of potential niches is equal to the number of stars in the sky. Beth Buelow’s The Introvert Entrepreneur, based in Tacoma, Washington, is one of those businesses that made me say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

From the Web site: The Introvert Entrepreneur is a personal and professional development company that provides services for introverts and those who live/work/play with them. Our goal is to create empowered, productive environments where introverts can flourish. The key to that is understanding and appreciating what it means to be an “innie” in an “outtie” world.

5. The Need: A convenient way for parents to buy diapers
The Business: Diapers.com
Quidsi is a New Jersey retailer that delivers diapers and baby products under the name diapers.com. Amazon recently paid $545 million to acquire Quidsi.

Founded in Montclair, New Jersey, by Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara, Diapers.com is the largest online baby care specialty site in the United States. As dads themselves, Love and Bharara were tired of midnight runs for diapers, frustrated searches for the right diaper size, wasted time waiting in store lines. The men looked for online diaper sources, found none, and decided to launch Diapers.com.

6. The Pain: Business travel
The Business: Anybots
Trevor Blackwell, founding partner in seed-stage venture funding firm Y Combinator, has created QB, a “personal avatar,” a robot you send into the office as your proxy. QB was developed by Anybots, Blackwell’s Mountain View, California robotics company.

“The big manifesto we have written on our whiteboard is, ‘Make business travel obsolete,’” Blackwell told Entrepreneur.com. “It’s the No. 1 thing businesspeople grumble about. It wastes resources [and] time.”

Do You Have a Cool Niche Business?

Tell us about in the comments below.

Find the perfect niche for your skills and passion. Click here to schedule a free, 30-minute coachsulting session with me. We’ll get to know each other and decide whether I’m the person to help you find and dominate your niche. –Larry Keltto


8

Comments

  1. My niche is pretty narrow – blog writing/editing/consulting for solo professionals. The need: A low-cost, low-maintenance, non-hard-sell way to get the “personality” of the solo professional across when that person doesn’t have the time, inclination, or writing ability to sustain a must-read blog without assistance. It’s a niche that’s working well for me!

  2. Larry Keltto says:

    Hi Jen, that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Larry Keltto says:

    Two days ago my chiropractor told me about a chiropractor in the Twin Cities whose niche is working with golfers. Brilliant!

  4. My niche is quirky solopreneurs. This is a tidbit from my site:
    “I work with the black sheep and sore thumbs of the business world, those who are too wacky, crazy, odd, eccentric to do business as usual. I help them get rid of the head junk that holds them back from success and happiness.”

    I want to let quirky solopreneurs know they can be quirky, have fun, be impassioned, and be successful – all at the same time. To let them know that there’s nothing wrong with them and that they are appreciated and can love themselves just as they are.

    I love working with quirky solopreneurs; I never know what I’m going to get in a session! ^__^

  5. Larry Keltto says:

    Hi Shauna, that is a fabulous niche, a GREAT example.

  6. Hi Larry,
    Not sure how I missed this post! :-) Thanks for including my biz in your list. You’ve highlighted some great examples here… it’s inspiring to see how others have found their unique groove. I can testify, niche-ing was the best thing that ever happened to me and my business!

  7. Emma says:

    Love your business, Shauna! What a great idea! hungryhouse is also an example of a successful niche business, I’d say: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hungryhousecouk-biting-at-the-heels-of-just-eat-188819311.html

  8. Athene says:

    So late to this!

    My business is walking people through the process of getting to know niches they care about. It’s one thing to be involved in a niche, it’s a completely different beast to actually know what’s going on on the business side.

    I’ve done it for the past 4 years in my own hobby, growing my blog to two sites and print publication. I write on what I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made and will eventually expand to coaching once I find out what other entrepreneurs really need.

    I’m still pretty new, but I have so much to share it’s crazy!

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