A lot of successful entrepreneurs will tell you a major key to their success can be summed up in one word: niche. Yet the idea of specializing, of narrowing down your market to a small segment of customers uniquely interested in what you offer, might seem contradictory to starting a business when you want to reach as many people as possible.
As marijuana moves into the mainstream, new opportunities for specialization are presenting themselves. For instance, I’m writing for the media niche. When I told some friends I was writing an article for Ganjapreneur they were incredulous.
“A year ago you called it ‘indigo’ and thought sativa was an organic sweetener made from plants,” one of them said.
But I’ve always supported the legalization of marijuana and the industry is no longer about stoners vs. the rest of the population. It’s about accepting pot as a lifestyle — medication at times — and a valid outlet of recreation for those who choose it. Sometimes an outsider can see things that players too close to the action miss.
If you’re an entrepreneur and the marijuana business is calling your name, it’s also about figuring out where you fit in. The piece “The Marijuana Industry is Creating These Economic Niches” gives a good overview of the various areas a new entrepreneur can explore including stocks, science and medicine, legal cultivation and extraction.
But even within these niche areas, you’ll want to find your USP — your unique selling point. In other words, what is the sweet spot you can offer that will keep your customers loyal for years to come? It’s not your market that will do this. It’s your niche.
Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing says your market is who can buy your product. Your niche is who will buy it. A lot of startups will probably not make it because they don’t understand this critical difference.
Having a niche doesn’t mean you can’t experiment or sell in other areas. It doesn’t mean you can’t change areas of specialization if your chosen idea doesn’t seem to be working out. A niche is a starting place. It’s somewhere to begin building a foundation of loyal followers, because ultimately that’s what is going to make or break your success.
But let’s go back to your USP. Suppose you want to focus on recreational marijuana. Who is your target audience? Baby Boomers or Millennials? If you’re targeting young professionals, this doesn’t mean your 70-year-old grandfather won’t find you using his smart phone, but it does mean you’ll probably be focusing on social media campaigns and skip the Grateful Dead décor. If you’re happier creating in the kitchen than any place in the world, you’d be a good fit for edibles or maybe extractions. These are all niches that fall under the bigger category of “recreation” which falls under the huge umbrella of the marijuana industry.
Top niche markets:
- High-end concentrates: potent hash that can be “dabbed” with a high price tag attached
- Vegan/organic cannabis: growing marijuana that doesn’t use bug byproducts (like worm castings) or chemicals
- Discounted bulk purchases: being able to sell ounces (when applicable) at lower rates
- Wide variety of edibles: appealing to non-smokers who prefer to eat their cannabis
- Offering spa services: enticing women with a variety of wellness treatments
Specialization doesn’t mean limiting your success. It’s an opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert, the go-to person, for your special corner of the industry. It’s an opportunity to build a strong foundation for your business to grow.
Author: Leslie Jordan Clary
Photo Credit: Martijn
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