Belfast Telegraph

If your business is not online then you are not even at the races

By Ron Immink

In The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson explains that in an online market of billions of people, it is nearly always possible to find a niche market.

The operative words are 'online' and 'niche'. If you are not online, you are not at the races.

If you can't define a focused, targetable portion of a market sector (got that definition from Wikipedia) you are not even on the racetrack.

Focused. Targetable. Market. I am taking a bet that it has been a while since you took a long look at what your targetable, focused part of the market is. Or even better, what it could be, if you consider the billions of potential clients that are online as your market.

Billions. 2,267,233,742 according to Which is one third of the global population; 140m on twitter, 174m on LinkedIn, 836m on Facebook. Even if you take some of the numbers quoted about the online world with a 'pinch of salt', no one can deny that it is big, powerful and growing.

This is about market. Not about social media.

On, there is a lot of debate going on about whether social media in a lot of cases is a complete waste of time and used as an excuse not to do the real hard sales graft. "How many 'Likes' have translated into real sales and cash?"

I digress. Do yourself a favour and spend a day online, looking at what your competitors are doing. Not the ones on your home market, but the ones in India, Japan, Korea, China, Africa and South America. What markets are they targeting? Where are you different? Where are you better? And then redefine your niche, your product and online marketing.

If you do that right, you will have a bright future ahead. With growth potential (still another four billion to go online, and Africa as the place to watch).

If you have a view on this, let us know on Smallbusinesscan. Post on the forum or write a blog.

We'd love to hear from you about niche market, social media, selling, online and all the other essential ingredients for a successful business.

Ron Immink, co-founder of

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