Narrowing down the niche 1st or Finding suppliers?

So which comes first: narrowing down the niche idea or finding suppliers? It’s like the chicken or the egg question!

chicken or egg - which came first

This is a question that is coming to my attention more and more as I teach others how to build their own internet businesses.

Narrowing down the niche:

  • You want to have high demand (see www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion) – at least 16 searches per day to make the idea even worth your time
  • You want to have minimal competition (use google and type in allintitle:”any keyword phrase” to see what the real competition is for Search Engine Placement – my target numbers are 30,000 competitors or less; this usually means that within 2-4 months I may be close to the front page of Google if I’m aggressive with other marketing strategies
  • As your narrowing down the niche, you don’t want to get “over excited” because the other speed bump you may run in to is….Finding Suppliers

Keyword Phrase digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion allintitle:”keyword pharse”
target: 16/day+ target: less than 30,000

clogging 137.0/day ——————————37,100
clogging shoes 68.0/day ——————————-730
clogging cue sheets 23.0/day ——————————-285

Finding Suppliers – Why not look for these first?

  • There are many ways to find suppliers: contact them directly, talk to competitors, use tools like TheShipper

As I think about it, why not look for suppliers first and then, when suppliers are found, think about keywords and phrases you can optimize with? To me, this seems much easier and a better way to manage time.

As I direct clients to a supplier I want to make sure they look for things that they already know something about; I let them know that they need to be prepared to write information concerning the product or industry they are leaning towards (or at least be willing to put in the time necessary to become a “guru” in that area). Granted, they don’t have to know everything about the products but they have to be willing to share valuable information related to the products in order to optimize most effectively. I plan to have a part 2 to this blog post: I think it’s very debateable and appreciate feedback.

What are your thoughts?

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33 Replies to “Narrowing down the niche 1st or Finding suppliers?”

  1. I love the idea about searching for suppliers first then keywords because it would be easier to search supply and demand for niches that already have suppliers lined up. Also, no matter how great of a demand there is if you cant manage your profit margin or if there really is none then keyword demand searches really dont matter. Great post. Thanks

  2. This article and the resulting comments has made me realize that I am not the only one here that has alot to learn. I think that if you have a good idea about what type of site you want to build and what type of business you want to have then getting your products and suppliers will follow.

  3. Got a lot to learn here. It has become blatantly obvious to me that if I can’t source my product, it doesn’t matter how good my idea is. I have got to figure out a way to focus my search and get potential suppliers to give me the time of day. Maybe an affiliate relationship is a better way to get off the ground.

  4. This article helped me to better understand some of the logistics of getting a business up and running. This also helps me understand about finding key words that will showcase the product.

  5. I think it depends on the person and where they are with their business ideas. If you already have a passion or brilliant idea, then that’s your starting point for products and suppliers. If you haven’t got a clue (like me!!) but are passionate about creating a business, then suppliers are a good place to start getting ideas. Nate also mentioned trade shows which I think is a brilliant idea, because not only do you have suppliers who want you to take their product, you also come across different new products. The site Nate gave us to find trade shows is http://www.biztradeshows.com and it gives details of shows throughout the world. I’ve already seen a few interesting shows in 2008 in countries which I’ve always wanted to visit – business and holiday at the same time!!!

  6. If you do not have a supplier, you do not have product. That does not mean you should not be thinking about what you would do once you do find it. What is you competition doing with it? What are they not doing with it? Where do you think they may be getting it?

  7. One thing I’ve seen Gary, is that if there is a product out there that is “on the market” to sell, there’s generally some creative ways to find a niche within that industry. Finding a niche is all about good keyword research. Trying to think of different ways people might be looking for the products you have access to.

    As I tell clients over and over again, you can do all the keyword and market research you want, but if you don’t have a product to sell, all that research will be done in vain. For this reason, I think finding suppliers within and industry is definitely the first of the two priorities.

  8. I appreciate this perspective, but I’m a little confused about “narrowing down your niche” verses determining if there is a market. Do I really want to find suppliers and set up wholesale accounts even before I know whether I want to be in a particular market? I can see waiting to determine what the niche would be, but what about determining whether or not the broad category is worth pursuing?

    Thanks,

  9. Given that I wasn’t sure what type of product I wanted to sell, looking for a supplier first was the best way to go for me. Now that I am more confident about my product, I will concentrate on finding the right suppliers, and only then will I narrow down a niche. It is quite scary though that there are over 8 million results on Google when I do a search. I will have to take this into consideration and have a great marketing plan to make this work.

  10. I think that having an idea of what to look for when looking into suppliers will eliminate some right off the bat as far as competition. If you know what to look for and if the supplier will be worth it, then a decision can be made to move forward or move on. I am trying to think of things that I have some familiarity with and have a few ideas so if one doesn’t work out I have another to fall back on.

  11. We are new at this and have been asking ourselves “what do we sell?” Unless you already know what you want to sell it makes sense to research your choices by checking what suppliers have to offer and we got some new ideas by doing that. We tended to lean towards products that “we” personally liked but we really have to look at it from a customers point of view and offer what they want to buy.

  12. There are several things that I am interested in, but I can’t think of anything that I could say that I am really passionate about. So I think that I would start looking for suppliers, and in this way narrow the field. If I have the interest, I feel that it would be easy to become passionate as I learn more. This will prepare me for selling.

    Oleta Young

  13. I am grateful for all the help I can get at this point. I am determined to make this all work for me. I started out identifying a niche and ran up against finding suppliers. There are a lot of products and lots of suppliers – it’s just finding the match and making it happen. As far as the chicken and the egg – well, that never has been solved has it??

  14. We too, were a bit confused! SO many options. Do you look for suppliers first? Or do you find your “idea”. Well, I think it works both directions. Depending on your personality and weather or not you have an idea. Without the perfect idea, looking at suppliers is great. It gives you a way to narrow it down until you finally go “THIS IS IT!”.

  15. Being new to this it just makes sense to me to find the suppliers first than build around those products at least to get started. As we learn to better ourselves in what we are doing, it seems it would make it easier knowing more what to do. Its like a blind man first trying to walk without the aid of a cane, but once he’s walked with a cane he can navigate his domain much easier without it. I like this idea of suppliers first and that’s what i’ll do to get myself started.

  16. I now have my login to use the site and have discovered several areas of interest, even things that I am passionate about in my own life. TheShipper has already contacted me and set me up with my own consultant.
    This whole process is just that, a process. Each process is a step leading to the next. As I climb the steps, some may be very steep but I have to keep going up so that I will be able to reach my goal.

  17. This has been difficult for me too at times. Even having a product and not being sure if it’s the right one.

    Thinking about it though… When I have just decided to run with one, even if I am not totally sure about it. It gives me great practice.

    Then when I eventually stumble on my “AH HA I got it” this is the right one!
    I am all practiced up to do it again, and then later maybe again.
    Multiple streams of income are good right!

    Cheers!
    Thomas

  18. One thing I know for certain as a newbie is that I have got to start somewhere. I feel that I have gotten very good advice so far. So I will continue working on my list of ideas while searching for good suppliers for items relating to the most promising ideas. This should result in a list of strong ideas for niches to develop.

  19. I am new at this too but what I’ve come to understand is the more I learn each day, the better things go. I feel that you have to have a passion for what you want to do and learn everything about your products. Then I feel that getting a shipper is important but comes second. You need to learn about the products first that you want to sell and also the market – then get your shipper.

  20. I will look into both together. And whatever comes up and feels right is the way I will go. Looking forward to the journey.

  21. Weii like a lot of you above me I am new at this.and just getting started. As for what
    comes first, the chicken or the egg., I thought about that I think that using both at
    the same time will gererate more ideas of what what you want to sell and find the
    supplier that can do the job.Its a start.

  22. I’m brand new at this and at sales also. It just seems like there is so much out there. I don’t really know where to start I have a tendancy to be impatient and just want to run ahead but I must wait and use the advise and guidence that is available. I’m so thankful for all the useful advise here.

  23. After reading the blog I believe it is more important to find a supplier or several of them before you decide which product (s) to start out with. As a beginner in this field, I have busted my brain trying to figure out what to try and sell, but to noavail. After reading this I have a better idea which way to go first, to Theshipper, which I signed up for today, hopefully ican get a better idea about what is ot in the market now and try to get in on that or to get in front of it. By doing that I can stay one jump ahead of them. I have thought about opening a small store on e-Bay but I still do not know what to put in it. So which comes first the chicken or the egg. I still don’t know but I have a good idea.

  24. While reading about “what to sell on ebay” just yesterday, John Reese, very successful marketer recommends you to find a supplier for a product you are interested in, then research to find demand & competition.

  25. I am just starting out as well. At first I couldn’t think of a reason I would need a supplier when My business is basically a service that comes from my experiences. However, I am totally open to researching the suppliers because I feel that information is my best asset to whatever I decide to do. Who knows, there is probably many suppliers out there that have tools for me to use in my service and offer to my customers that I would have never been able to create fast enough or even thought of. So doing both, narrowing down my niche and finding suppliers goes hand in hand for me.

  26. I am also new at this and feel that if someone does not have a specific idea than it would be beneficial to look at suppliers first. For me it has created ideas that were not there.

  27. I do like the chicken or the first notation.I t is a matter of perspective and what our strengths and weaknesses are in this business as well as our passions.I think these ideas are tools to use to accomplish our ultimate goal of success in all these aspects.To build ,sustain and add to our focus and for our survival towards what ever product we decide to market.Constantly learn with each step.

  28. I’m new at all of this and find it to be extremely informative as I follow the various steps regarding narrowing the niche and finding the suppliers.

    I think its important to have a passion for whatever you choose to sell. Once there is passion you do whatever it takes to find suppliers for what you want to sell and to make the business work.

    Narrowing the niche or finding suppliers first is like ‘which comes first-the chicken or the egg?’In my opinion every person have their own way of doing things, but once they have a determined passion, along with right information and execute what they’ve learned great success is inevitable.

    As we would say in our culture “that’s my five cents”.

  29. I’ve gone both ways in setting up an online business. In some cases it started because I had good access to the product. In others I found something that worked on paper and then found the product to match.

    I think either way can be just as lucrative as long as you put it on a solid foundation, do your work and make it happen. No matter the product or business success or failure all come down to you!

  30. This is the problem I see with people “selling products online” is that they are forced into certain niches that do not suit them. They want to make money and become financially free and create wealth right? Do they really think they are going to do that selling one dvd player at a time? You have to have a better understanding of business and how franchising works to truly become a successful home based business owner. Good information though, it should get some people thinking.

  31. The way I see it is if you are taking a long time trying to narrow down a niche then you need to get access to a drop shipping list to give you ideas, but I also think that anyone needing someone to tell them what to do is not going to be very successful in the long run. Most successful business owners have a good idea what they want to get into and just go through all the steps to make it happen.