You will always strive to deliver better service and an improved product to your clients. This is a built-in part of the business world; you and your competitors will be at it, hammer and tongs, from the day you open your doors for business until the day you close up shop. But what about opening up a unique business venture? One that services a niche market where competition is initially going to be scarce?

Small businesses make up over 99% of the overall American company scenario, so you’d be in good company. Become a micro-specialist in an untapped market, catering to a subset within the larger client base.

In other words, go boutique. Try these ideas for cutting out your unique piece of the niche market pie.

Abandoning the Big Guys: An Example

Following the recession, clients who would have otherwise hired large law firms are increasingly turning to boutique law firms. Additionally, attorneys at large law firms that no longer have the appetite for the lifestyle sacrifice required by large firms are abandoning their jobs in favor of boutiques.

One such boutique law firm is Capital Fund Law Group, a law firm focused on the narrow niche practice of hedge fund formation. John Lore was a New York hedge fund attorney practicing in the investment funds department of an 800-attorney international law firm. Seeing an opportunity to service cost-sensitive, emerging hedge funds, he established a boutique hedge fund law firm in his native Salt Lake City.

With only three lawyers and six total staff members, the firm’s clients pay a fraction of what they would pay a large law firm for similar services. Mr. Lore, a skiing and mountain biking enthusiast raising three children, couldn’t be happier about the lifestyle change away from the workaholic environment of a large law firm.

In order to determine if the niche market exists for your business, implement the SPAN test. This is a basic test that will let you know if your micro-specialization has a good chance of succeeding. It breaks down into these simple components:

Are the Subtopics There?

Will it have enough meat on it to run? Is it an area that can support an expert? A good way of finding out if there are enough subtopics to support your niche business is to Google your topic and then put it in related searches. You can also check sites like to see how many books there are on the subject and subtopics.

Does It Relieve Pain Points?

Will your product or service lessen someone’s pain? Not physical pain, but the pain of inconvenience or frustration. In other words, is there a proven need for your product or service? If there is, you have a good shot at success. If not, you may want to reconsider your niche.

Is It Attainable?

Is it doable, by you? Can you really help ease your customer’s ‘pain’, fixing their problem with your product or service? Be frank with yourself. If you have any major doubts about being able to provide the promised relief, better think of another niche to inhabit.

What Are the Numbers?

Is there really a big enough market for your niche product or service to risk your time, talent and money? Try checking out Google ads to see if others are trying to sell your niche business idea. Look at LinkedIn and Facebook ads too, to see how much interest there is in it.

When all is said and done, you really need to understand your own passion to know what niche business you should pursue. You’ll never waste your time, money or talent if you follow your heart, as long as you let your brain handle the marketing!