Walking at a brisk pace around a nature sanctuary in Newport RI, my business partner Cassandra Farrington and I completely ignored the glories of sun, surf and wildflowers because we were so caught up in our excitement about launching new publications.
I guess that's what makes us true entrepreneurs. It's not about money, and even less so about fame. The act of creation, of inventing an idea and then making it come alive! The daily joy of working with your team producing this thing together. And to be able to count your success in a palpable way, whether it be customer fan mail or monthly revenues. That's just so much more fun than yet another spectacular Newport sunset. (Yeah, you can see why I sucked at early retirement.)
I'm a high-volume idea factory, so Cassandra tried to reign me in, "Anne, first let's tightly define the attributes of a business niche that's worth us going into." We both agreed a niche had to be:
- Growing at faster than 7% per year in new companies, products, or divisions, with a matching growth in overall revenues.
- Primarily American-based, but strength in other English-speaking countries would be cool as well.
- Dominated by many, preferably thousands, of smaller companies with under 50-100 employees, so we'd have a large potential customer account base we could market to via direct response (vs. fewer, larger Fortune 500 accounts that may require a sales team.)
- Under-served by business publishers offering nitty-gritty practical instructions about growing a stronger, healthier company in their specific niche.
- Actively feeling "pain" that kept execs up at night with worries about how to expand, stabilize, or manage their business, which might be addressed with the nitty-gritty type of practical information we're becoming known for.
- Reachable through existing media or lists including bloggers, industry events, government licensing lists, relevant vendor's customer and prospect files, and broader trade publications.
Worth noting - the words "Internet marketing" or "marketing" weren't on this list of attributes! While we presumed we'd cover marketing as a topic for each niche, and we already publish in one marketing industry area (WhichTestWon.com which covers A/B testing), we wanted to focus on our passion for helping the entrepreneurial community, as opposed to the marketing community.
"You know what industry meets all these requirements," I said. "Medical marijuana dispensaries!" I was joking. Well, sort of. Because as we both thought about the idea we realized it was a perfect fit.
And what a marvelous way to show the world that we really are serious about serving entrepreneurial niches outside of the marketing industry. I'm sure you could make jokes about A/B testing medical marijuana, but I'm really not going to go there ;-)
We hired a great Editor/Reporter Chris Walsh for the launch. He's based in Colorado, which is currently the state that most other states are watching carefully as a sort of poster-child for the safe and sane development of a legal, for-profit, medical marijuana retail industry. We've got several other employees based in Colorado as well, so it was also a good corporate fit. In fact now, we're nearly evenly split between Rhode Island and Colorado. Surf and turf.
Anyway, if you or someone you know is in this industry, please do point them to our newest -- free -- resource Dispensary Business News. It's not for patients, politicians, or activists. It's simply for the business owner who is trying to make a go of it in this confusing, burgeoning, exciting, and exasperating industry. We're here to support you.