I am convinced that focusing on a niche is the essential discipline of building a viable business. Especially if you’re small. These two articles nail it from different angles:
First up is Michael Skok’s classic post on the importance of starting with a focus on a small segment of people, who share the same job-to-be-done:
The “lean startup” methodology is great and has done a lot to revolutionise the way we create startups.
But too many entrepreneurs who follow the lean methodology get stuck in a product spin, consumed with making and honing their Minimum Viable Product.
The “minimum” part of the MVS is about keeping your segment as small as possible to be able to dominate it with your limited startup resources. Once you dominate it, you can claim leadership. Even if this leadership is just in your MVS, it’s valuable to your positioning and credibility for the next segment you want to go after.
Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to focus at the start. You can always build on success, but it’s hard to cut back on failure if you’ve already spread yourself too thin and failed to meet any one need fully. That’s where the Viable part comes in.