Finding your niche
In Vegas, our shop was located just off the strip in the main industrial park neighborhood. There was this great Greek place right down the road. We’d stack our breaks so we could enjoy one long break (gorging on the best spanakopita I’ve ever had) instead of a lunch and and two short breaks.
Then our shop moved. Although we found new love at the Pizza Cafe (and an absurdly handsome barista named Pablo), it wasn’t the same.
Then, lo and behold, the Greek place relocated too! RIGHT BY OUR NEW SHOP! So exciting! As soon as we found out we were neighbors again, we skipped our morning break to hit the hummus over an extended lunch. We ordered without looking at the menu first.
“No, no. No spanakopita. We got new things now.” The guy puts a menu in my face and points a thick, furry finger at the grease-splotched paper. “See? We got subs. We got pizza.”
We all expressed sorrow over the loss of our beloved spanakopita, but found other Greek things to order. And they were delicious. Just not quite as delicious as before.
The next time we went back, a bunch of the Greek menu items were crossed out with a ballpoint pen, and the burly Greek guy who usually took (and cooked) our order was no longer in evidence.
Pasticio? Gone. Tabbouleh? Falafel? Gone and gone. And the top-notch quality that used to be in evidence had, like Elvis, left the building.
That was our last time visiting the Greek place.
I am always baffled by businesses– and individuals– who have a richly matured niche, then water it down with some dumb crap that anyone could do. ANYone.
Like the disappointingly named VikingHus gift shop that had one small shelf of sorta-Scandinavian swag, and otherwise looked like a Hallmark store. Like the Pizza Cafe, our Greek restaurant replacement that started out as a fantastic high-end gourmet Italian bistro and worked its way down to a quasi-sports bar. Like the last couple seasons of just about any decent TV show where they lose their way and forget what made them stand out from the crowd in the first place.
The world does not need more bland, safe mediocrity.
When you have a thing you nail better than anyone, it’s easy to doubt yourself. It’s easy to think that the guy over there is seeing amazing success with his broader, less complicated vision that appeals to the public at large. Surely you should cater to the masses too, instead of your small niche market.
The people who invest in your goods, your services, your presence give you the gift of their time/money/support because they like what you’re offering. What YOU are. Not what everyone else is.
Not despite your differences. Because of them.
They say you should write the book you want to read. I say find your niche, that niche that needs filling that no one else has filled. Then fill it.
|This lives on my desk. It’s an interesting story. I’ll tell you sometime.|