The niche you didn’t know existed

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

You have an idea of what your company is going to become. You plan and you strategise. But once you start, it’s a whole different story.

Before we began our company, our goal was to help brands create content. We had identified it as an area that was sorely lacking in Hong Kong (and most of Asia, where brands are typically a few years behind). Brands had social media, but they lacked the resources or understanding to create content on a regular basis (far too many social media accounts were dormant). There was a real need, and we were looking to fill it. We weren’t wrong, but that wasn’t where the real demand was.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we discovered that yes, brands needed help creating content, but there was an even bigger need! Brands in HK had no idea what they were even doing on the digital space. They all had websites and social media channels, but only because they thought they should be there — there was no thinking into why they should be there, what should be on them and how it was going to benefit the company. Before we could solve their content needs, we had to solve their strategy needs. Thus, we branched out to help brands figure out their digital strategy.

A couple months later, a new need emerged. Companies that were starting to understand digital, were looking to make their first hires in the digital space. The problem though, was how are they supposed to tell the difference between a good digital person or a bad digital person? They didn’t know the space personally, so they didn’t know what questions to ask. Would the person be able to solve the company’s problems? There was really no way of knowing — and it would all come down to dumb luck. But that wasn’t it — once they hired the person, how were they going to figure out what the person was supposed to do?

In the past couple of months, a number of clients have approached with the same problem — how do we hire and what do we get them to do? As a result, we’re looking to help address this problem. While the details aren’t firm yet, we’re looking to branch out into a bit of headhunting (not in the same way it’s currently being done, but a hybrid approach) as well as consultation that involves us developing, nurturing and guiding the talent. Most likely this will evolve over time.

Instead of branching out our digital agency in SEO/SEM, PPC, influencer marketing, and many other fields like 99% of the agencies out there — we’re going in a direction that actually needs help. We’re looking to create our own category and truly differentiate. It’s a gamble for sure, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take (why fight among the crowds when you can outright standout?).

It’s been a strange time. The point is that you don’t really know where the demand really is until you start doing things. It doesn’t matter how good your theories are, things in the real world rarely ever match up. It takes time and effort to see where the real opportunities are.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 320,131+ people.

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