Fortune may be found in a nice niche


In this issue’s interview, Rapidity boss Paul Manning talks about some of the lessons he’s learned in his career, and one in particular really struck a chord: how do you go about recognising the next big opportunity.

He’s very open about the fact that, like any business leader, he makes the occasional misstep, but judging from the growth of the business, despite his self-deprecation, they’re few and far between.

But one in particular he highlights was cross-media, which not so long ago was the sexy sector of print, that everyone wanted a piece of. Although he also mentions the photobook “nonsense” and the latest on trend topic: digital packaging.

He highlights two important facts that it’s easy to overlook: if it’s a massive opportunity, there’s a strong chance that there are already a lot of massive players serving that sector, who are better placed to capitalise on it. And if they haven’t, there’s probably a pretty good reason why not.

And secondly, that if it’s a kit vendor getting all evangelical about the fortunes that await you if you seize this year’s golden opportunity, then while they may be pure in heart, they also, well, want you to buy their stuff.

Most business owners are on the lookout for ways to diversify, new revenue streams to add, new services to offer. But rather than looking for the industry’s next ‘big thing’ most would probably be better off looking for their own nice niche.

And when it comes to identifying that new string to add to your bow, the best way to do that, as Manning says, is to listen to your customers and follow their lead.

Because, the customer is always (usually) right. 

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