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How to find your niche market

(NC) Part of being an entrepreneur is having the ability to innovate and to adapt to changes in the marketplace, particularly when it comes to understanding the demographics of your prime customers. Great ideas will come to life by offering new products and services, or by delivering them in new ways.

As with any major undertaking, you will need to do your research first to determine which group of people you want to reach and how to get their attention. Consider the following guiding questions:

• Is there a group of potential customers with similar wants or needs?

• Is the market big enough to support my business?

• Who is my competition, and are they currently serving that same market?

• Can I adapt my products and services to address the market's needs, and still be profitable?

The best way to learn more about your potential customers is to conduct some market research to find out first-hand what they want. Let's say you work in the healthcare field and have learned that a growing number of people are looking for mobile services, or personalized care at home. You might decide to expand your service offerings, or start a new business aimed at meeting a particular set of needs for this area. If you keep an eye on emerging social trends, or changes in demographics like an aging population, you can get in on the ground floor, or adapt accordingly.

Once you've determined who you want to reach, you can focus on adjusting or developing a marketing plan. You have heard what the market has to say; now it's your turn to reach out to them. Think about the language and tone you use, and the way you present yourself to them. Perform some test marketing and seek feedback.

You can also start your research with free business services by contacting Canada Business Ontario at 1-888-576-4444 and accessing the Canada Business Network website at canadabusiness.gc.ca for more business information.

Canada Business Ontario is a program within the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). For further information on federal economic development programs and services for southern Ontario please visit, FedDevOntario.gc.ca, or contact us by email at info@FedDevOntario.gc.ca or call toll free, 1-866-593-5505.

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