One of the ridiculous things I hear people say is, “I’d love to do that, but this market is too saturated; I won’t be able to compete.”
Every single market is “saturated,” in one way or another, but that shouldn’t stop you from entering it if it’s something you’re genuinely interested in.
And if the market seems to be saturated, the only thing you should take from it is that there’s money in that space.
So how do you enter what appears to be a saturated niche and win?
There are a few ways that I know of and that I used for my companies and some of my clients.
1. Be consistently 20% better than the average.
It’s easy to look, for example, at the pet niche and say that there’s no way that it’s still possible to enter it and compete against such giants as Chewy and PetSmart.
But if you dig deeper, you can always find at least one area where you can do at least 20% better.
In a pet market, one of such areas would be personalized customer service.
It’s one of those paradoxical markets with one of the most passionate types of customers on one side and one of the most faceless and commoditized suppliers on the other.
If you can show your customers that you genuinely care about their pets and consistently provide a 20% better service, you’ll establish yourself as a strong player with a steady stream of returning customers.
Another way to enter a saturated market is deep specialization.
Specialization galvanizes support. It’s easy to share and remember.
Instead of being a generic web agency, you can focus solely on designing high-converting Shopify stores and become a household name in the e-commerce space.
Instead of being a fitness apparel company and selling every piece of clothing imaginable, you can focus on creating the most comfortable pair of leggings.
Instead of being a graphic designer, focus on packaging design, know all ins and outs, and be the designer that people immediately think of when they create a new physical product.
Casper started by creating one great mattress instead of hundreds for every occasion; Spanx was born from the idea of footless pantyhose-shaper; Allbirds began by creating the most comfortable pair of merino wool shoes.
You get the idea.
3. Change the game, create your own niche.
Creating your own sub-niche is a twist on the previous point.
Think of your strong skills and qualities and how you can combine them to create your own niche.
As Scott Adams, creator of wildly popular comic Dilbert, says:
“I’m a poor artist. Through brute force, I brought myself up to mediocre. I’ve never taken a writing class, but I can write okay. If I have a party at my house, I’m not the funniest person in the room, but I’m a little bit funny, I can write a little bit, I can draw a little bit, and you put those three together, and you’ve got Dilbert, a fairly powerful force.”
Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort.
Let’s say you’re a good developer, have some marketing skills, and know how to write properly. By combining these skills, you’ll be ahead of most developers, marketers, and writers.
Good at design, know a thing or two about dogs, and have a passion for fashion? Then, why not create the Outdoor Voices of the dog market?
Combining two or more skills that you’re at the top 25% can propel you to the top 5%, and the better you are, the less competition there is.
The main point is that perfect competition only exists if you do the exact same thing as others are doing. Selling exactly the same product, providing exactly the same service, and creating exactly the same content.
And remember that “saturated” markets are good because they are harder to enter. And hard is good. The harder something is, the less competition you’ll have in the long term – everyone wants easy.