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Marketing to a Niche

How do I get the word out about my business in a very specialized market?

By Paul and Sarah Edwards • May 5, 2006 Originally published Oct 10, 2002

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q: I want to start my ownhomebased drafting business That specializes in residential design.How do I go about finding customers? Do I put an ad in thepaper?

Name withheld

A: The most direct route togetting started is apt to be working with and through contractors.Because most homes are not designed by architects, and a great manybuilding projects are remodels or additions, contractors are eitherresponsible for coming up with the plans themselves or willrecommend their clients to a draftsman.

Advertising a service like drafting is not likely to do muchmore than reinforce your name with the people you have contacted.And unless you do it on a regular basis, it might not even do that.So you need to put your time into making contacts and buildingrelationships with contractors.

In addition to looking in print and online yellow pages, you canidentify contractors in The Blue Book of Building and Construction( This directory coverscontractors nationwide; in the Dallas area, for example, you'llfind 895 firms. You may also be able to meet contractors as well ashomeowners who might hire you directly through networking groupsand chambers of commerce.

Another possible source of income may be overflow work fromarchitectural and engineering firms, and you may find hourly workthrough agencies such as headhunters and job shops.

Paul and Sarah Edwards' most recent book is TheEntrepreneurial Parent. Send them your start-up questions or e-mail

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