Business Plans and diets have more in common than the average MBA assumes.
This is the season for diets. Seems like new diet products, weight loss books, and fitness programs have proliferated faster than the spam in my Inbox (and believe me, that´s FAST!).
The problem that they face: how to differentiate themselves among the rest of the herd. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, even Atkins: these oldies but goodies are still going strong. So how does a WannaBe Weight Loss Guru compete?
The answer is identical to the question: what separates a winning business plan (i.e., one that wins funding, backers, and ultimate longevity) from a failure? An untapped niche. Tell a person who wants to lose weight to avoid carbs, and you´ll get a yawn and a response like "Been there, done that, have the weight gain and expanded pants size to prove it doesn´t work." Tell a person who wants to lose weight that you have a healthy and proven diet program that features ice cream once a week, and you get a plea for more information.
For an example, think about Gatorade. For a long time, Gatorade was known as THE energy drink for athletes. Depleted by a long run? Drink Gatorade to replenish your electrolytes. Physicians even recommended it to patients who were dehydrated by tummy ailments (heck, my 81-year-old mother started drinking it after a violent bout of food poisoning, when an emergency room doctor "prescribed" it). Then a wise entrepreneur noticed an untapped need: dieters who needed an energy drink but wanted to avoid the sugar and calories of Gatorade. The result: sugar-free energy drinks.
From Propel vitamin-enhanced fitness water to sugar-free, get-a-buzz Red Bull, that formerly untapped niche market has become flooded (no pun tended). My advise if you have a similar product: squeeze in there with something unique. Energy-enhanced ice cream anyone? Make it sugar-free, and I´ll have a second helping.