Yesterday I had an interesting, but short, conversation on Twitter where I said, “The key to a successful small business – find a highly specific, targeted niche and dominate it!” And I meant every word.

I work with business owners all the time who aren’t sure about what they want, what they’re doing or where they’re going. Nothing wrong with that at all. After all, unless your expertise is in small business development or marketing, there’s little reason to think you’d have a solid understanding of how to structure and grow a business.

Yet one thing that thatseems to set successful small business owners apart from those who aren’t is their mindset.

Business is all about creating your space in the market place – in your niche market, that is – and working hard to inform people how what you sell can help them. The thing is, if you’re wishy-washy you’ll get wishy-washy responses. Just as if you’re pointed, certain and clear in what you offer your clients, your clients will often be clear and pointed in what they want from you.

That’s why being uncertain about how you’re positioned within your niche market leads to uncertain, and often lackluster, results. Little focus means little results. And what other positioning in your niche market is there than being considered the best in your market space? Do you hear any of your clients say, “I’m working with Dawud because he’s the 12th best business advisor in his field?” Of course not. People always want to feel they’re working with the best. And usually they are – the best for them.

So I’ve never understood having a business unless your intent was to be the best in a market space. And that means that you set out from the beginning to dominate the market. It doesn’t always mean you reach your goal, of course, of being the top-dog in a niche market. But that’s not the point.

The point is your mindset. Do you go after the people who can serve in your niche market or do you sit back and let them come to you? Do you work hard to develop relationships that help establish your expertise and grow your business or do you sort of stay within your comfortable group of peers who will never be clients? And do you set out to be the best in your highly specific, targeted niche market or do you reserve yourself to having a business that doesn’t create the lifestyle you want?

It’s all in the mindset. Set out to be seen as the best in your niche market and you will be – at least by those who you bring into your business. And that means you have to dominate your niche. How else can you grow and maintain a successful business?

As Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” So what we believe is what we end up creating.

Love to hear your thoughts on how you’re dominating your niche market? Or are you at all trying to dominate your niche? And if not, why not?

Let’s talk about it.

(note:  image from  Danius! on  Flickr,   some rights reserved)

Reader Interactions


  1. Easton Ellsworth says

    Dawud, I love what you always remind me: What we focus on, expands. Also, it’s important to pick a niche that’s small enough to dominate but big enough to allow you to find prospects in bigger niches nearby.

  2. George says

    It’s great advice. It’s the same advice my mentors have given me and it’s the same advice I give to others.

    There is no better way to be successful in business then to focus on and dominate one specific niche.

  3. Chad Gardner says

    I’ve only been a small business marketer for a short time now, but one thing I have seen is the opportunity to market to these niches.

    The beauty of marketing to small businesses is that there are over 25 million of them – all in a wide range of industries, all needing a variety of products and services – most willing to invest to improve right now. This gives the flexibility to focus on individual industries and target a crafted message toward them.

    So even when things get a little turbulent, that opportunity can still be found.

  4. Sara-Beck Cronny says

    I’ll take it even further down the road.

    You can find a series of micro-niches to rule and generate some amazing results.

    It’s fairly scaleable, too, because once you have the initial infrastructure in place for a micro, it tends to keep producing results with far less maintenance.

  5. Susan says

    I agree that it’s all about niches. I’ve had success with several businesses that were very niche specific. I’m now looking to start a few more. Would love to see an article on how to find niches, especially ones with good profit potential.

  6. Fiona Erna says

    I think there is a niche depth we should concern about. I have a very close friend of mine who run training/seminar business. He doesn’t have a niche topics, not also a niche market. His business is growing, and he practically does no marketing+selling, thanks to the word of mouths effect. The markets knows him as a person who can speak and motivate, and hire my friend to speak about numerous topics. Now the irony is when he try to pick a niche topics and market, he would certainly loose many of his (loyal) costumers. For sure! In this case, the “little focus = little results” is becoming unrelevan.

    In this case, it is the market that forbid him to be a niche player. What do you think, Dawud?

  7. wilhb81 says

    It’s a very important thing to conquer the right niches, as if we cannot do it properly, then we might be having a great percentage of facing the failure in the end…

  8. Brustvergroesserung says

    Niche marketing can be extremely cost-effective. For instance, imagine you offer a product or service that’s just right for a select demographic or ethnic group in your area, such as Hispanics or Asians. You could advertise on ethnic radio stations, which have considerably lower rates than stations that program for broader audiences. So your marketing budget would go a lot further, allowing you to advertise with greater frequency or to use a more comprehensive media mix.

  9. Boiler Boy says

    Now he tells me! It’s taken me a couple of years for me to reach similar conclusions on my own, wish I’d read this on day one!

    I’m not sure mindset is as big as factor as Dawud makes out (though it’s certainly a large one), but this kind of thinking makes sense from other commercial perspectives, not just the “go team!” side of things.

  10. casas rurales en zamora says

    What do you enjoy? What are your hobbies? Write a list of all your hobbies, of all the things you enjoy doing. This should be a list at least 20 items. Next write a list of things you really enjoy reading or learning about. This should be at least 10 items. Now, cross off half the items on the list, leaving the items you most enjoy.

  11. Ken Kaufman says

    Dominating a small niche is often why most small businesses remain unphased by recessions. If the niche is doing well in spite of the economy, then no one even knows a recession is happening. Powerful.

  12. Pepperfire says

    Thanks for the blog post, Dawud.

    When I left my previous career for the hot sauce/food mfg business, I had very little knowledge about the food industry at all, but I was determined to learn everything that I could. I became a sponge. That was almost 6 years go.

    That focus combined with the expertise of our team, has given us a stranglehold on our niche: small batch manufacturing of hot sauces and other food products. It helped that our market research told us that nobody else seems to be doing what we do, and that if someone did decide to compete they’d have a combined 50 years of experience to go up against. And worse for them, we are constantly upgrading our expertise.

    Businesswise, we’re on fire, and it’s because the rest of the world is looking at us and saying “these guys are the go-to-solution”. That’s niche domination.

    Little hint for someone looking for their niche: Whatever you do, add value to what you do, by outsourcing what you can’t do or can’t do well, to the person that is the best in their field. At least until you can do what they can do, as well as they can do it.

    It’s not enough to just want to be seen as dominating the niche, you have to have demonstrable expertise in the niche that no-one else has! By hiring only experts and being experts in your own right, no one can touch you. Add great customer service to the mix and you have no choice BUT to succeed!

  13. Roger says

    I got a host of ideas but I am not able to dominate my niche because of lack of labor. I have people working for me but training them is a pain. They don’t see things the way I want them to see. Doing everything on your own is a pain!

  14. Tina | Foreclosure Listings says

    You are so right about this. Finding the right niche is essential as the business itself. You have to find the right niche so that you can reach your target market. Competition is stiff, but it you are doing right there is a good chance of getting into the top.

  15. Ernie says

    Their are a number of niche directories and search engines that an individual can submit their site too that can help them to gain targeted traffic. For Linux users their is the Linux Search Engine. And their are many others as well.

  16. Paul Viau says

    I think you have to be the best in that market or atleast the best perceived in that market. Create a blog that is updated often and keep to that common theme. You will attract those buyers that you would have anyway.

  17. Senior T says

    Focus is especially key in web site development. One of my first web sites was for “general” home improvement (something I have been doing for many years). The site never got any traction because it did not really target a defined set of keywords. Now I don’t even consider working on a “general” site.

  18. Alex Delarge says

    Its very true, I think alot of companies want to be the wal-mart of their industry (do all and be all), but if you dont have the wal-mart funding then you will collapse to a company that does..

    the best way is in loyal customers and that all starts from having that niche market that you dominate..

  19. ed hardy says

    Nothing is unachievable in our life and I do believe in that. I am a blogger by my wish and I love to blog. There is not a single thing which I was not able to achieve. Only thing I have, its my strong determination and will.

  20. Bryan Gray says

    So very true. I managed to get where I am today by finding small niches with light competition and dominating them. The biggest challenge is finding the niche, crushing it is typically the easy part.

  21. Brenda Heisler says

    Good article. Like most basic things, it needs to be repeated over & over!! Find your niche, work with passion and enjoy the people that surround you!

  22. Zekimann says

    Agreed. It’s critical to have the right mindset to succeed in any business.

    Also all too often people go into popular niches with lots of competition when all it takes to really rake in the cash is to get into those smaller markets where there’s great demand with not-so-much competition.

  23. Chicago buick dealer says

    It is not a necessity to find a small niche but it is to dominate whatever you are in. Being the best at whatever you do, big or small, is the key to success.

  24. RSS says

    I like idea of niche markets, but i have chosen another way (thats for my website). I think that use of RSS might be very large, and for this there is no need for niche. In general I agree for niche idea.

  25. Izzy says

    Definitely agree. Passion and drive are two things that cannot be learnt or bought. Find a niche that you are interested in and passionate about and the drive to make the business a success will come naturally.

  26. Business Logos says

    Niches are fantastic! Many large companies overlook the niche, considering there is not as much money to be made, but they truly can be a goldmine for small businesses.

  27. Victoria BC Travel Guide says

    “To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

    This is a known technique often referred to a visualization. It is an important foundation in any venture you want to undertake and be successful in. If you can see it, you can achieve it.

  28. Gallery says

    Niche marketing can be extremely cost-effective. For instance, imagine you offer a product or service that’s just right for a select demographic or ethnic group in your area, such as Hispanics or Asians. You could advertise on ethnic radio stations, which have considerably lower rates than stations that program for broader audiences. So your marketing budget would go a lot further, allowing you to advertise with greater frequency or to use a more comprehensive media mix. Thats it!

  29. George says

    I believe the best way to dominate your niche market is to be seen as the expert in your field.

    You are the solution to other peoples problems, with extensive use of informative articles and FAQs you can add credibility to your marketing claims.

    It’s also a good way to differentiate your product or service from your competitors.

  30. Jaden says

    Thanks for this. Again the key thing like you said is finding your niche. I have struggled over the years to find my niche. Now that I have hopefully I can begin to make some serious progress that will last a lifetime.

  31. bloginsane says

    That’s a great post for motivation! But be ready that it will take much time, because now big corporations dominate in all spheres.

  32. bob Smith says

    If you really want something, you will go and get it! This is a good blog, great remarks. If you think that you are faced with stiff competition, let your burning desire consume you and it will not matter what stands in your way. Find your niche and work hard to be the best!

  33. Engago team says

    Large global players aim for large mass markets.
    Small and micro companies need to aim for niche markets.
    The “left-overs” form the big brands as these niche markets require too much adjustment of their generic business model or service.

    If then iche is tiny , then you can dominate this niche.

  34. Jared says

    I’m still new to building a niche so it’s quite important to have these types of articles accessible. I believe that it is in valuing a niche that one can become more successful in it. The sheer determination to make that niche get through so many trials and have it grow is, I think, an essential part of the whole deal of dominating.

  35. Rofikul Islam Shahin says

    Great advice, and I completely agree with you. You gotta dominate your niche if you want to last. I liked what ENGAGO TEAM said here, and I think there’s no point in going after mass markets now a days with so many big names around. The key is to find a good underrated niche, but a niche that really interests you and you intend to learn as much as you can about.

  36. Tom says

    Yeah I do agree on many levels, although I think it also simplifies and perhaps misses out a few important points. For example there is no point dominating a niche market if it’s so niche that only about 2 people in the world are interested in it… Unless of course it’s Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. You have to ensure there is a market first, then dominate it.

  37. Faye says

    You convinced me of the effectiveness of niche marketing and the domination of your niche. So you keep on researching for a niche that is not yet filled and has the potential to be very lucrative but find out that you are not passionate about it. Do you try to change your mindset or do you keep on looking till you find something that you can write about passionately?

  38. workfromhomemom says

    Try to learn from others mistake, this post is great, identify your niche and it need to be:
    subject you love (love to talk about, to learn about, and to share)
    subject you know about (you need to have some knowledge to share and help others)

    and profitable ( if you want to make money you need to work in a niche that have demand)

  39. rajkumar says

    Definitely you will lose if you don’t do a better SEO, In my opinion For the first Three months we have to keep our efforts by Submitting the site to to Directories, Posting comments on blogs, Social book marking. This way you improve more traffic to a site.

  40. Top Ten Bloggin says

    Identifying and dominating niche markets is the key to success on the web now. In any online market you will almost always be able to identify smaller sub-markets, or “niche” markets. If you’re in a highly competitive field this can be the biggest factor in your success.

  41. Ty says

    I totally agree with you on your comment on mindset. It really is all about mindset when it comes to succeeding in your business ventures. I have noticed if you go into something positive the results are almost always positive. But if you are slightly negative about the situation the results are always sub par.

    But I never though of it, in the way that you should try to be seen as the best in the market, i have always had the mindset of trying my very best and ignoring the competition. In the sense that don’t worry about what they are doing, you need to focus on what you are doing is the best you can do.

  42. Andy Lax says

    Hi Dawud,

    As a former school guidance counselor, your blog strikes a responsive chord within me.

    Individuals have to be passionate about their work and the goals that they set to achieve. In the business world, it’s so important to maintain focus and keep one’s “eye on the prize.”

    We have to become experts in our niche and be able to communicate with (prospective) clients. Whether we sell a product or service, we also have to remember that we are all in the “helping field.” Of course, we then have to become knowledgeable about Internet marketing to broaden our audience.

    I applaud your recommendation to dominate a given field — with love, of course. 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Andy Lax

  43. Josh says

    Great post, I think duplication is important too. Why just stick with one niche when once you know how it’s done, you can dominate tens of niches?

  44. Nick Norris says

    I just wanted to add that whatever niche you’re getting into, try to make sure it’s unique. You cannot jump into and dominate just ANY niche. For example, if you are trying to get in on the Loan Modification craze, you may be very disappointed.

  45. Matt says

    Great post. Finding a niche suitable for you and dominating it is a good strategy but it’s easier said then done. I see people all the time who start out so passionate about what they do, and as early as weeks later get bored with it. I gues finding your niche takes a little trial and error.

    Love the quote by the way. Henry David Thoreau is one of my favorite authors.

  46. Anthony (home garden seeds) says

    Well, I can only say big thank you for this article. I find this info very beneficial for myself. Thanks a lot! I am currently trying to dominate my niche but I’ve just started 1 month ago so time will tell if I was successful 🙂

  47. The Selling Man says

    I love the quote by Henry David Thoreau! Very true when it comes to success not only in dominating a niche, but in everyday life also!

  48. home stair lift says

    Dominating the market really needs hard works. Research is important part to find niche and subniche. By doing many experiments and researches, we can find the great niche products for sale in the market. One of important investments is time. Yes, I agree to dominate niche market although needs hard work.
    Ardi Panondan

  49. Fashion Shop says

    What type of clients you get, depends on how you portray yourselves to them.Good point. Self reflection ought to be done before I sell my services out.

  50. Create a Website says

    Yeah thats the only problem, it’s not always easy to dominate a market, even a small one. Like a few people have already said knowledge and most of all experience (aka failing) are whats going to allow you to dominate.

  51. Green Marketing says

    I completely and utterly agree with your article! This is something I suggest to most of my clients as dominating a popular category [in essence, not a niche] is difficult and can be costly.

  52. Billy Cook says


    I agree that domination is key. Not an easy task, but as with anything in life it takes hard work and perseverance to become an expert or an authority.



  53. Arthur says

    I’m finding this is so true. A specialized niche can very well be worth its weight in gold. It’s much better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. 🙂

  54. SEO Programmer says

    Well you have your points their and I think I am one of those who are not yet settled with a specific niche. I am still thinking about it. Thanks for the idea here and I will try to consider it. This time it will be for sure. BTW, I have subscribed with your feeds.

  55. Jared Stenzel says

    That’s the thing about a niche. Once you start dominating it, you can use that success to build up other sites in the niche which in turn will help you boost up past the best to be within the select few. The hard thing is to constantly come up with new content for your main niche site.

  56. la crisis economica says

    Another way to find a niche market is to work backward from the benefits you offer. Start by listing all the benefits provided by your product or service. Then list some of the characteristics of prospects whose current situation can be dramatically improved by those benefits. You should begin to see a narrowly defined group emerge as a niche market.

  57. Data Entry Jobs says

    I think everything has been said here. Being “nichy” is the key to get as big ROI as possible. And the best thing is that the niches won’t “run out” so practically the competition doesn’t matter really.

    Once you have found a nice niche with a large market value and low competition, it will be pretty easy to dominate it. All you need to do is put in the necessary amount of work.

    Empty pockets never held anyone back.
    Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.

  58. invertir en bolsa says

    Good advice Dawud, but I’d like to add a couple of things:
    – Niche must be big enough to be profitable
    – If niche is profitable enough, is not uncomfortable being the second or the thirst one.

  59. Jay | First Home Buying says

    I realize your thoughts in this post are mostly meant to be general from a business standpoint, but I would add that especially with niche marketing online it’s important to decide on your monetization method before you develop your site and your niche. Whether you’re selling physical products, affiliate products, ads, etc. it’s a key step in the process that should be done from the start, and it’s something that I believe is a *part* of your mindset from the beginning.

  60. lidagazeteler says

    It’s a very important thing to conquer the right niches, as if we cannot do it properly, then we might be having a great percentage of facing the failure in the end…

  61. Swiffer Sweeper Coupon says

    If your niche is small then dominating it shouldn’t be too difficult, but what I’m finding now is that even in the smallest niches there are a lot tough competitors all trying to do what I’m doing.

    In a way it’s nice because it forces you to really work for the success, but just takes up more of your time.


  62. Piramide Invertida says

    It makes sense. If you are a start up, its gonna be kind of difficult to compete with the big boys.

    If you chose to play a different game, where there arent that many competitors, you will be able to stand out more easily.


  63. Adam Alfia says

    The emphasis on the mindset is an interesting point. It’s easily glazed over as something obvious and pre-determined, but many lose sight of this fundamental principle in the heat of the moment.

    Starting a business requires focus, strength, and determination – once you convince yourself you can do it, the semantics are just a technicality.

  64. Urban Trey says

    Dominating a niche market is a great approach, especially considering how people find websites through SERPs. If you dominate any market, your customers will find you.

  65. Dean says

    Good advice Dawud enjoyed reading the post. I find it always helps to find a niche that actually interests you. It’s easy to be taken in by the potential profit then get bored out of your mind researching and writing about

  66. JerseyMic says

    I’m trying this out now by diving into the open mic scene in NJ. It’s a small niche that I hope grows a little to help me out!

    I’m trying to dominate by being as relevant on the internet as possible. Flickr, twitter, myspace, facebook, everything. Thanks for the reminder

  67. David Howell says

    In the current climate, it’s getting harder and harder to find a niche. And not only just a niche, but a niche that can perform well in the current economics situation!

  68. Greg Bowen says

    I totally agree with this. I recently started targeting a more specific area of web development and have seen good results. I think people look for specialists as opposed to people that offer everything.

  69. Access Blocked Websites says

    People who are new to the internet marketing should start off by targeting smaller markets and concentrate on dominating that smaller niche market first of all… The world is constantly evolving and new niches are appearing all the time, so there’s no excuse for not finding your own profitable niche market…

  70. Rod@Tri Nations Rugby says

    This lines up totally with what I’ve come to realise about blogging too – of course I’ve known for a long time about the theory of niche blogging, but I think the niches most of us choose are too wide. To be really successful you have to be very specific.

  71. Chad- Commodity Broker says

    I am actually having trouble with my niche. I am giving my all to it, but I think the problem wasn’t that I didn’t set my goal or dominate it, I feel that my niche is too narrow. I don’t think enough people are out there in demand of my niche.

    But I agree with you about the mindset of sticking to something and dominating it. Lets just hope that my next endeavor will be more successful.

  72. Lena from Nikolaev says

    I agree with every word you’ve said on Twitter just because I run a small business in a very specific niche. The best things that help me be successful are “Treat your customers as your friends and they’ll come back to you again and again.” Also “Never lie or rip your customers off. They’ll never forgive it”

  73. scentsy independent consultant says

    I still have a hard time going out and finding new customers. That being said I slowly have gotten more guts! I know I sell a good product and it sells itself! The more I’ve tried to go out on a hunch and ask people the easier it gets every time. Wish me luck!

  74. scentsy says

    The specific niche is absolutely important as you must make sure you pick something that is not too competitive for your marketing budget to handle and also a market that is financially stable enough to put your time and efforts into.

    Great twitter post by the way

  75. Linkmoko says

    Well, I’ve been using this strategy since now, it’s important to pick a niche that’s small enough to dominate but big enough to allow you to find prospects in bigger niches nearby. It’s great advice very useful.

  76. Scentsy says

    Your discussion about MINDSET is very insightful and, in my opinion, right on target. It really can make or break you! Thanks for the great article.

  77. Steve says

    In my market the only way to succeed is to find many small niches and focus on them. Most of the keywords are far to competitive and dominated by large businesses with deeps pockets for link building.

  78. flameless says

    Steve – Sounds like a long tail strategy and a completely valid approach… particularly when you rely on search engines for traffic. What do you think Dawud?

  79. Medical Assistant says

    There is no way a small business is going to steal all the customers from a larger one. You’re right that the best method is to chip away by focusing on a niche. It’s a great way to grow and always be in demand.

  80. Plumbers says

    Your discussion about MINDSET is very insightful and, in my opinion, right on target. It really can make or break you! Thanks for the great article.


  1. […] as Dawud Miracle explains, being uncertain about what you do will lead to lackluster results: Little focus means little […]

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