Small Business Tips: Finding Your Niche

by Dawn Fotopulos on May 21, 2011

Small business tips will help you find clients, save money,  and make more profits with what you already have. Take this pleasant looking fellow.

His name is “Mardi,” at least that’s what everyone calls him. He was born in Armenia and has worked in the U.S. for decades.

His small business is called “Tamar Jewelry of Gold.” His bench is in the jewelry district in New York City at 35 west 47th Street.

Small Business Tips- Find Your Niche

Mardi- The Goldsmith Who Found His Niche

Mardi is a goldsmith who specializes in fixing fine jewelry. Is your ring too large? Small? Rough? Mardi will fix it. Do you need a stone set? Replaced? A safety catch for that bracelet that lands on the floor too often? Do you need to clean an old piece of jewelry from Aunt Martha?

Mardi will fix that too while you wait. He’s a genius at what he does. Here’s how Mardi found his niche.

Small business tips- be a niche player

Mardi hard at work

Today, I visited Mardi because I lost the backs to some of my earrings. Others need cleaning so badly that  jewelry out of a Cracker Jack box looked more appealing.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Mardi for fifteen years. He does whatever I ask him to do fast and with great care. I found a shell I loved from the beach and asked him to cast it in gold (before the gold price  shot through the roof).

Small business tips- find a niche like Mardi

Mardi cast my shell pin out of gold

This little pin is worn on my shirt collar in the winter time to remind me of the wonderful memories at the beach. He didn’t think it was silly. It came out beautifully.  It’s one of my favorite pieces.

Mardi has a workbench that is exactly four feet square in the back of a large space with at least fifty jewelry sellers. Everyone has his own counter. Mardi’s is probably the smallest.

It’s brilliantly organized so no matter what Mardi has to do, he never has to leave his seat. The high pressure washer is behind him, the polishing wheel to his left, the soldering torch to his right. His chair swivel’s to meet his requirements. He’s a master at what he does and I’m not the only one who knows it.

On any day, the whole floor could be very quiet, but not when you get to Mardi’s bench. He usually has at least three people hanging over that counter asking, “Hey Mardi, can you make it one size smaller?” “Hey Mardi, can you replace the diamond?” “Hey Mardi, she wants the stone set the other way.” “Hey, Mardi, the customer’s waiting, could you do it for me now?”

This small business tip is about being the “go to” person in your industry, just like Mardi. Someone needs something at an odd time? A customer needs an answer right away? You be THAT person and they won’t forget you.

Today, two guys were arguing over who should have time preference because Mardi’s services are so highly prized. And everyone is in a hurry.

In the fifteen years I’ve known Mardi, I’ve never heard him say “no.”

Small Business Tips- Finding Your Niche

Small Business Tips- Do the Work Everyone Needs

He doesn’t sell jewelry. He’s not a jewelry designer. He doesn’t distribute jewelry. He’s not a diamond merchant.

Mardi is in the very unglamorous side of the business. Repairing jewelry is dirty work. Mardi is a craftsman in an age when craftsmen are hard to find. In recessions, “dull normal” services are in great demand. Few people buy new, but they all need repair services.

Mardi flourishes because fine jewelry needs maintenance. There is a lot of need for repair and not many people who do it well and fast.

Look at those hands. How many wedding rings, engagement rings, birthday, graduation, Christmas and Hanukkah symbols of love and care have they repaired? Probably, tens of thousands over his thirty years in the business.

The same hands that hug his new granddaughter have repaired the rings of royalty.

Finding your niche is not always easy. I suspect Mardi started in a pretty humble way fixing one ring and then another when he first got started. But then he became indispensable.

This small business tip is really about that. Be the person your customers can’t live without.

And as for Mardi? He is a very honest man in a notoriously dishonest industry. That alone makes him worth his weight in gold.

Our posts about small business marketing tips will help you find YOUR niche!

If you want to learn more about small business marketing tips, watch our small business training videos.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry June 6, 2011 at 5:26 am

Too many businesses try to be everything to everybody. The secret is to pick a niche that makes you unique and with good business practices you will be successful. One other tip is the person who concentrates in a specialized business area is able to make more money than the person who is jack of all trades.

Dawn Fotopulos June 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for the advice, Jerry! Only Wal-Mart can try to be everything to everybody and even they have a “niche,” so to speak. Thanks for reading!

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