Find a niche …. and dominate it!


For the past decade I’ve been preaching to raw startups that they must find an unfilled niche and dominate it. Then move on to successfully tackle other market segments. But I’ve found my historical examples are way out of date. None of my mentees know that Microsoft first product line was programming languages and its sole customers were programmers. (No one called them “developers” back then.) In fact few of them were even born when Microsoft was founded (1975)!

So I was glad to see the story by Austen Hufford andMaureen FarrelDocuSign Shows Strong Demand, Closes Up 30% in The Wall Street Journal.

Docusign is my new example of starting with a unserved niche, then expanding their market reach:

The company started as a provider of electronic signatures serving the U.S. real-estate industry and has expanded to track, authenticate and archive all types of digital documents for insurance, consumer goods, enterprise sales, financial, pharmaceuticals and other sectors. Customers include Salesforce.comInc.,T-Mobile USInc. and ComcastCorp. , according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I can’t promise you that you’ll end up going public if you follow the Docusign model but you won’t fall into the classic startup problem of attempting to boil the ocean – trying to be all things to all people and ending up being nothing to anyone.


Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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