How technology is changing aspects of niche businesses
Technology is affecting businesses ranging from large to small, and from broad-based to niche. No matter what business you are in or which group of customers you are serving, your business is affected by the rapid changes in business technology. The smaller and the more specialized your business is, the greater the impact of technology. Niche businesses, in particular, can find that their entire business model can be upended by changes in the technology environment.
The advantages of technology for niche businesses
If your business is focused on a targeted market sector or a specific group of consumers, you could find that technological advances enable you to significantly increase your market share, and the size of your business. For example, personal computers used to be the domain of people who enjoy electronics as a hobby, and were sold in relatively limited quantities. As technology improved through the 1980s, personal computers became mass-produced and were widely adopted by households around the world. What was a niche business has grown exponentially, and the niche suppliers of personal computer kits that adapted to the revolution reaped significant profits.
Technology can also help niche businesses to market their products to a much larger audience. Whereas a niche business was in the past limited to marketing and shipping locally, a combination of the Internet and global supply chains is enabling specialist businesses to grow in scale by marketing their products and services around the world.
How niche industrial businesses benefit from technology
Businesses working in niche industrial sectors have reaped large rewards form technology. 3D printing is one prime example of the way industrial processes have benefited from technology. Businesses working in specialized industrial fields now have the opportunity to cheaply and easily produce prototypes, making the process of testing and trying new products much cheaper and easier.
Though dependent on natural, raw materials, agriculture is one sector of business that has been dramatically affected by technological changes. Jai Shroff, CEO at UPL, has focused on delivering market-specific solutions based on substantial levels of R&D investment, and the associated innovation has enabled agricultural enterprises of all sizes to be more responsive to market needs and to be more productive.
Technology challenges niche businesses face
The typical niche business is small and focused. A small and focused enterprise can be very profitable, but specialized businesses are more exposed to changes in market conditions. Technological changes can have a particularly large impact, as it is not unknown for niche businesses to completely lose their purpose in the market, due to changes in technology.
Even large, established businesses have been wiped out by technological changes. Regardless of the size or level of specialization of your business, it is important to keep an eye on the technological environment to see whether changes that are due to take place pose a threat. On the flipside, all businesses should look out for the opportunities that changes in technology can offer, as these can be truly transformational.