Sometimes, smaller is better–just ask the small business entrepreneurs also called micropreneurs flourishing in today’s marketplace. A growing set of entrepreneurs are building successful businesses by serving a niche market. Micropreneurs aren’t trying to become the next Bill Gates or Larry Ellison. They’re thriving small-scale on the strength of a loyal customer base and utilizing social business networking and utility tools to help with sales lead generation.
Micro-Enterprises Rely on E-Commerce Solutions
Micropreneurs are rewriting the rules of small business–and they’re relying on the internet to make their business model work. A New York Times feature on startups explains: “the Internet has given people an extraordinary tool not only to market their ideas but also to find business partners and suppliers, and to do all kinds of functions on the cheap: keeping the books, interacting with customers, even turning a small idea into a big idea.”Thanks to a range of online small business resources, today’s micropreneurs have the resources to build their venture on a shoestring budget.
With minimal upfront investment, you can:
1. Create an Internet storefront for retail sales. E-commerce solutions can create a Web site with point-of-sale (POS) capability. Online POS systems enables secure credit card processing on your site, allowing you to keep the doors open 24/7.
2. Reach your niche market. Online sales lead generation and marketing tools excel at targeting interested consumers and businesses.
3. Communicate with your customers via online business networking tools, a blog, or social networking tools. Social media sites offer powerful resources for finding your needle in the haystack, also known as your niche customers and partners. They can also help you keep in touch; today’s customer service agents use online media such as twitter, facebook, tradeseam and email correspondence to connect with the public.
4. Need niche supplies or equipment to launch your niche business? Tradeseam connects entrepreneurs and suppliers of all stripes. You’ll find business resources including manufacturing companies, international suppliers, and everything under the sun online.
5. Web-based technology offers a range of resources for small business owners. Time-tracking software and online accounting programs are just two examples of today’s affordable, productivity-enhancing business tools.
6.The Internet offers the reach and low startup costs to support a niche business.
7. For many micropreneurs, the Eureka moment–the business idea–derives directly from a personal passion.
The following entrepreneurs built a following–and a profitable business–catering to like-minded individuals.
Specialty Food Carts
El Dorado tacos? Chow Fun to go? More and more specialty food carts are cruising urban neighborhoods, with offbeat menus to serve the random craving. Restaurant consultant Clark Wolf notes: “Mobile food is one of the hottest things going all over the country. Brooklyn has its ribs truck, Manhattan has its dessert trucks, and now Los Angeles has the cupcake patrol.”
Specialty food carts rely on social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook to broadcast their coordinates. The strategy seems to work. L.A.’s Kogi taco truck draws between 300 and 800 by tweeting its location in advance, “setting off a taco-minded flash mob.”
A physically fit duo in Spokane, Washington has pedaled to success with a pedicab service. Cheaper and more eco-friendly than a cab, the bike-based taxi is finding no shortage of riders around the downtown area. To get the wheels rolling in your own leg-powered cab service, you’ll need pedicabs, licenses, insurance, and a local marketing campaign. Once you’ve gained a loyal ridership, you can establish a call center or online-based dispatch service linking riders to your mobile phone.
Guerilla Marketing Agency
Seattle businesses looking to make a unique statement can count on Wexley School for Girls to get the job done. The agency uses off-the-wall guerilla marketing stunts to build publicity for clients. For example, they created a buzz around Copper Mountain ski resort by staging a National Snow Day with improv ski-patrol actors and fake snow. The stunts aren’t for everyone; “either you get what Wexley is selling–a very particular sensibility and approach toward marketing–or you don’t,” comments an admirer. But the agency isn’t looking for mass appeal: “Wexley is biting off little pieces, looking to take on a particular niche of a business.”
Build your own businesses staging publicity events for businesses. Start with an eye-catching Website Design and online marketing campaign to get the word out. As the costs of running a business come down, micro-enterprises are flourishing. These small businesses focus on a loyal niche, taking advantage of online business networks to communicate with customers, source, distribute, and to manage the venture.
In today’s Internet-driven economy, it’s no longer necessary to chase the next big thing. A great small idea can take you even further.
Niki is an entrepreneur, business consultant and advisor to several small business entrepreneurs in the San Francisco bay area. She writes extensively on the small business blog and is a frequent contributor to several small business resource and networking sites that offer tools and resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners, including Tradeseam, Dell, Women On Business and Small Business Community.
- Tags: business networking, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, lead generation, sales and marketing, small business