About two months ago my consulting firm conducted a market research for a client that manufactures and distributes a product which falls within the category of Fast Moving Consumer Goods [FMCGs]. They are aiming to push their product into same league as global brands with a strong national presence in Nigeria.
Our research was focused on Port Harcourt and the drag net captured three LGAs in Rivers State; Obio-Akpor, Phalga and Eleme. That means we captured every neighbourhood in Port Harcourt and I want to share just an insight with us. For the purpose of confidentiality, I cannot disclose the name of the company and what they do.
So, my clients are chasing the bigger players and what that means is that they have been slicing off the market share of the big players just by penetrating the south-south market deeply. As we went around smaller neighbourhoods, especially in Abuloma, we noticed that a much smaller company was slicing off their own market share by penetrating deeply into the Abuloma market and other neighborhoods.
What’s the point?
Most startups and small businesses including my online fashion store lack the financial muscle and capacity to give the big players a run for their money. Instead of just dreaming of the day we will square up with the big players and possibly beat them, we can actually focus our small resources and energy on carving a niche for ourselves.
What’s your lowest hanging fruit?
One neighbourhood after another, Habib Yoghurt now has a strong presence in most Nigerian cities including Port Harcourt. If it is one store you can get, give a razor sharp focus to it and penetrate the immediate market deeply, it generates revenue to keep you afloat and also gives you the much needed traction with which you can eventually lure investors and even expand.
By all means, find that one street, neighborhood, company, demographic, etc and penetrate it DEEPLY. Be an underdog, if you don’t have the privilege of a bird’s eye view, capitalize on the privilege of a worm’s eye view.
When we started our online store, we fell for the strong pull to offer a wide array of wears even when we didn’t have sufficient capital to sustain a robust inventory. The Women section was most problematic because they love to see enough options while shopping. For example, the result for that section would have been different if we focused only on female footwear until we could expand into other items.
At least we could have been known as the go-to-store for anything footwear for females. So we had to go back to the drawing board, and even though we are yet to conclude, the process of adjusting our model alone has yielded a radically different result. This is a practical approach to carving a niche. I understand that Amazon started with just books, think about that. Google got known as a search engine, but they are far more than that today.
What has been the most rewarding source of revenue for you? Focus on it and penetrate that market deeply. You don’t have plenty seeds to scatter, why cut your only seed into several pieces? Let’s get to work.
We have what it takes to grow successful ventures. Enjoy the rainy day! Your Co-Traveler.