Knowing which niche market you intend to cater for is hugely important, but if you’re unsure how to target that market, your business won’t get very far.
For Uri Maimon, a self-proclaimed technophile, starting up a niche IT business made perfect sense. But as he found out, appealing to a niche market requires a very specific mindset.
Maimon is the founder of Nominal Accounting Software, launched last year, catering for the demands and specific needs of micro-sized businesses.
After starting out in the IT industry as a customer support technician, Maimon worked his way up to project management before starting up his own IT consultancy.
Maimon became inspired to start up after discovering the limited number of accounting software packages available for small and micro business owners.
“The existing products all seemed to be overcomplicated [and] expensive,” Maimon says.
“Coming from Israel, where there is a strong IT and start-up culture, I liked the idea of doing my own thing. I thought, I might as well give it a go.”
After exploring the options available, Maimon decided to create his own software package. But it proved to be more difficult than he had anticipated.
“I wanted a micro business management software that broke away from existing software products dominated by the likes of MYOB and QuickBooks,” he says.
“As a small company, finding your place in an incredibly competitive market is often a difficult task.”
“My initial naive thinking was that if product A cost X and is of a certain feature and quality, and product B cost less and has better features and quality, than it should be easy to sell at least some of product B.”
“The error of my ways soon hit me – no one is going to care about a product, which is a little bit better and/or a little bit cheaper, unless we find something they really care about.”
Maimon realised he could only commit to his niche market – micro businesses – by thinking like a micro business.
“Often, micro business owners don’t know much about bookkeeping and don’t have time to invest in training,” he says.
“They also don’t need complicated features but still need to do things like submit their BAS, create payslips and keep GST records.”
“We provide simple accounting software that allows Australian micro businesses to do their bookkeeping by themselves.”
Nominal Accounting enables small business owners to create and manage invoices and reports, submit Business Activity Statements and integrate into PayPal accounts.
Maimon says his first priority is to secure around 500 paying customers. As a sole trader, he will then think about hiring his first employee to improve the company’s customer support.
“Over the last 18 months, I’ve had almost 3,000 downloads for the software from the website,” he says.
“I haven’t sold 500 [packages] yet but I’m hoping that when I do, it will be a bit of a turning point for me to get another employee and formalise the thing a little bit more.”
Maimon’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Don’t underestimate the power of research.
“I have found that reading books in all departments of business helps you see and identify patterns that can often transfer to your own business situations,” he says.