Entrepreneurs tend to get excited by new markets, new inventions, and innovative technologies. The sexy, newsworthy businesses and ideas that make people sit up and take notice. Meanwhile, the world still needs practical, functional goods and services that have been supplying the essentials of life for years. True entrepreneurs recognize the value of these businesses and keep an eye on industries in which they have knowledge and expertise, to see if any opportunities present themselves.

You may feel the urge to start your own business but aren’t sure where to begin, or what the best niche is for your skill set. If so, why not consider looking at an established industry in a market you know? The advantages are that the industry will have a proven track record, with plenty of evidence and examples of what business and marketing models work best.

You don’t need to sell a concept or convince potential investors and customers that your invention will wow the world. Of course, these are the challenges that so many entrepreneurs relish, but for others, a more well-trodden path may be a better fit.

A starting point

As a starting point, look at your own home and see what products you can find that make your life easier, for which demand is unlikely to wane. Consider how many people buy car trailers or slow cookers; how many people need windows washed or ovens cleaned. They may not be glamorous, but they’re constantly in demand.

One of the problems of entering an established market is that you already have a lot of competitors, and the first crucial step in selecting your project will be to assess the state of the industry and who is already serving the market. It is where you can get your teeth stuck into some research and drill down into the fundamentals of how established industries succeed and whether there are opportunities for a start-up to profit alongside established businesses.

Your knowledge & experience

Your knowledge and experience will play a vital role in this process, as you are far more likely to succeed in a business where you have expertise and market insight. Certain sectors may seem ripe for new entrants, but with some insider knowledge, you will know the prospects are not so positive.

Take pushchairs for example. People are always having babies, so they will always want pushchairs; it’s an ongoing requirement and sounds like the sort of business that could support new entrants.

However, if you have worked in this field, you will know there are many hoops to jump through to get suppliers to consider you as an outlet, and the competition from major chains, with their price matching tactics, can make margins uncomfortably and in some cases unprofitably tight.

However, the principle of looking at services people need on an ongoing basis is worth exploring, and you shouldn’t be afraid of considering the practical and the everyday. Wherever you can match your knowledge to a product or service, check out the industry and see if there is a place to grow a new business.