The power of the niche

By Daniel Taylor, head of manufacturing, NZTE

How to sustainably build a business is an interesting conundrum for manufacturers.
New Zealand is a small domestic market, so if that’s your target, there’s possibly value in being a generalist.

When you look offshore and start thinking about making your way internationally however, the power of the niche is more apparent.

It’s important to recognise that ‘niche’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘small’, it simply denotes a specialised segment of a market for a particular kind of product or service. It also doesn’t mean having all your eggs in one basket – diversification within a niche is possible and helps to spread risk.

Targeting a niche matters for New Zealand because when we compare ourselves to global competitors, we are generally considered a nation of small, or even micro-businesses. Global marketplaces are highly competitive, and our companies can’t be all things to all people – and that’s okay. There are a huge number of very successful New Zealand businesses who have harnessed the power of the niche and found their ideal market segments.

With constrained resources, being able to engage with a defined portion of the market – be that sub-sector, buyer or geography – enables those resources to be laser-focussed on what really matters. You’ll likely see synergies around how you gather market insight, shape your offering, and talk to your market niche. The knowledge you’ll gain will be deep and rich, as opposed to wide and superficial.

By focussing on a niche you can learn faster, evolve more intelligently, and make your business an indispensable partner for the customers you’re targeting. Ideally, you also give yourself a chance to influence and shape the market, rather than just having to react to what unfolds in front of you.

There’s plenty of great content on myNZTE to help you identify and nail your niche. If you’re not yet an NZTE customer, it’s easy to join here. A big fish in a small pond is going to make more waves than a small fish in a big pond – and we want our exporters making waves.

Daniel leads NZTE’s Manufacturing Export Customers team. He has held roles as trade commissioner in Europe and Australia, and NZTE private secretary to the Minister for Economic Development. Before joining NZTE, Daniel was operations manager at Global Fruits. 

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Xpress Engineer NZ, NZ Engineering News or the parent company, Hayley Media.