I enjoyed reading about the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, and not just a because of my interest in retro technology. I was particularly intrigued by a company listed in the Show Sponsors section. When I saw the logo for PinballBulbs, the lightbulb above my own head lit-up. I was reminded of the rallying cry for sales and marketing people to Find a need and fill it.
Seriously? A company that exists to sell lightbulbs for pinball machines? A bit of investigation confirmed that they specialize in lights and lighting upgrades for pinball machines!
Sharing What You Know
Light bulbs for pinball machines? That’s an awfully narrow niche, but apparently there’s a need for them. I suspect the proprietors didn’t start with a brainstorming session and end up with an inspiration to sell a very specific product into a very specialized market. They were probably already involved with pinball machines and saw the need to replace or upgrade the many light bulbs they contain.
Another company, BatteryBob, recognized the opportunity to offer a wide variety of batteries for small electronic devices – but without shipping charges eating their profits or scaring off potential customers. Perhaps you’ve run into situations where you were going to order something online and then realized that the shipping would cost more than the item. BatteryBob mails these “watch batteries” in a regular business-size envelope, so they don’t have to charge their customers for shipping many of these items.
Disclaimer: I don’t have any financial or business interests in these companies other than having bought batteries from BatteryBob.
Finding Your Niche Market
Some people brainstorm about a brand new market or a brand new way of doing things. Sometimes those can lead to a business that takes-off “overnight.” However, I suspect a greater percentage of successful niche businesses are the result of people thinking outside the box relative to a business or product they’re already familiar with.
Lights for pinball machines? Small batteries shipped at no charge even if you only need one battery? What’s your next market going to be?