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No, Your Market Is Not Saturated (Wisdom From a 19th Century Book)

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MTF

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The college-student who was about graduating, said to an old lawyer:

"I have not yet decided which profession I will follow. Is your profession full?"

"The basement is much crowded, but there is plenty of room up-stairs," was the witty and truthful reply.

No profession, trade, or calling, is overcrowded in the upper story. Wherever you find the most honest and intelligent merchant or banker, or the best lawyer, the best doctor, the best clergyman, the best shoemaker, carpenter, or anything else, that man is most sought for, and has always enough to do. As a nation, Americans are too superficial—they are striving to get rich quickly, and do not generally do their business as substantially and thoroughly as they should, but whoever excels all others in his own line, if his habits are good and his integrity undoubted, cannot fail to secure abundant patronage, and the wealth that naturally follows. Let your motto then always be "Excelsior," for by living up to it there is no such word as fail.


P.T. Barnum, The Art of Money Getting (1880)

138 years later, nothing has changed. If you've been looking for a business idea for months and reject all of them simply because there's a lot of competition, remember that:

1. There's always a market for a great service or product.
2. No matter the market, very, very few people embrace the strategy of preeminence.

I have a very simple philosophy on life. You shouldn’t steal from yourself. If you’re going to commit your life to an enterprise, wealth creation, the security and the financial well-being of your family… and if other people --- your staff, your team, your employees, your vendors --- are going to commit their lives to you, you owe to yourself and to everyone else to get the highest and best results. You should never accept a fraction of the yield when with the same effort or less, the same people or fewer, the same time or less, the same capital or less, the same opportunity cost or less, can deliver so much more to you currently, and perpetually.

Jay Abraham
 

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BigDaddyKane

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Wow. Bumping this. That first paragraph by P.T Barnum was spot on. I see so many people around me from all walks of life in all types of sectors with thriving businesses. What does it mean for a market to be "saturated"? Life goes on and people need goods and services - and the best providers will win.
 

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So the next time someone says digital marketing, web design, or anything else is saturated I’m going to send them to an article written in 1880?? Wow... things really don’t change.
 
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Wow. Bumping this. That first paragraph by P.T Barnum was spot on. I see so many people around me from all walks of life in all types of sectors with thriving businesses. What does it mean for a market to be "saturated"? Life goes on and people need goods and services - and the best providers will win.
Thanks for bumping it!

So the next time someone says digital marketing, web design, or anything else is saturated I’m going to send them to an article written in 1880?? Wow... things really don’t change.
But Andy, this article is outdated! People surely don't seek the best of the best today.

Wow. And wow. And wow. 1880? Things really don't change.
The most fundamentals laws never change, but it's still cool to see something written back in the 1880 that (almost) sounds like it was written today.
 

jesseissorude

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This is something I think about constantly! I am always worried that there are too many competitors in my space.

Stepping back... those competitors are making money, so we know there's a ton of market demand. I just read the part in Unscripted that mentioned something to the effect of "If there are 50 competitors in your space, then you just have to take 1% of business from each of them, and suddenly you have 50% and they each have 49%."

I totally butchered the quote, but you get the idea :shit:
 

minivanman

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Back when I first started my cleaning business, that was all I was told..... there are too many house cleaners in my town. I tried to get all 3 of my sisters to start a cleaning business back then and they said, "No, we have too many already". I sure am glad it went in 1 ear and out the other for me or else I might still be working the fry station at Burger King. :eek:

There are almost 2 billion sites on the internet so anyone even THINKING about making a site should forget it!
 

rjrobbins2

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This is a great quote and something to definitely to consider. With that said, this does not mean we should not take saturation into account when starting a business. The amount of saturation impacts your business plan, marketing, etc. For example, it may take longer to get to the point of profit or you may have to spend more time promoting yourself. If you are starting a brick and mortar location, you will need to take the locations of competitors into account.

If you will be one of the best providers, you have to last long enough to show that to people to get to the top story. If you do not take saturation into account, you may never get to show people you are one of the best.

A real-life example I can share is regarding my ex-wife. Two years before we split, she went to chiropractic school. There are only 4 chiro schools in the US so the cities they exist have high saturation levels with our city being the top. Lots of people start practices and fail. Chiropractors are one of the top bankruptcy filers in our city. Chances are, some of those that fail are fantastic chiropractors but they did not take into account how saturated the market it is (it is ridiculous, they are like Subways here). Yes, you can still win in a saturated market but it may change how you need to do things.

Sorry to be the devil's advocate but I thought those were important things to mention. On the surface, I agree with the sentiment but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be a factor.
 

Esquire

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Disagree.

Being "the best" is all fine and good.

Being "perceived" as the best ... is what makes you rich.

I know countless lawyers who are very good at what they do ... but still struggle to make ends meet. The problem is they don't know how to market themselves. Who cares if they are the best if nobody knows it.

They are generic interchangeable commodities in the eyes of the public.

As Trump says ... perception is everything. If people "believe" you are the best ... then you are.

Perception is what matters.

Well ... that and your target audience.

My fortunes skyrocketed when I started marketing my services to the affluent.

To quote Dan Kennedy: "Who you sell to is equally important, if not more important, than what you are selling."

If the affluent perceive you as being the best ... the streets are awash with gold.
 

The Abundant Man

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This is a great quote and something to definitely to consider. With that said, this does not mean we should not take saturation into account when starting a business. The amount of saturation impacts your business plan, marketing, etc. For example, it may take longer to get to the point of profit or you may have to spend more time promoting yourself. If you are starting a brick and mortar location, you will need to take the locations of competitors into account.

If you will be one of the best providers, you have to last long enough to show that to people to get to the top story. If you do not take saturation into account, you may never get to show people you are one of the best.

A real-life example I can share is regarding my ex-wife. Two years before we split, she went to chiropractic school. There are only 4 chiro schools in the US so the cities they exist have high saturation levels with our city being the top. Lots of people start practices and fail. Chiropractors are one of the top bankruptcy filers in our city. Chances are, some of those that fail are fantastic chiropractors but they did not take into account how saturated the market it is (it is ridiculous, they are like Subways here). Yes, you can still win in a saturated market but it may change how you need to do things.

Sorry to be the devil's advocate but I thought those were important things to mention. On the surface, I agree with the sentiment but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be a factor.
I live near Palmer Chiropractic. This area is so full of Chriopractic Clinics. They are on literally every block and corner. It's ludicrous.
 

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Silverfox148

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It's always a mix of proper marketing and delivering actual quality results/service, I would say for something to be truly successful after launch it should be 75% quality results/service and 25% marketing.

The problem with marketing/brand management is that if the quality is not there your repeat business will be low as well as word of mouth recommendation, it's why restaurant's tend to do well when they open vs a year or two down the road.

In the U.S. now is the perfect time to start a business, unless you are trying to compete against Amazon, Google, etc, the doors are wide open for you because quality of service/product is so low. It's the reason why I am willing to pay double or triple for MacBook vs a Windows Machine, it's a known quantity for me, I know it saves me time and am willing to pay for it, irrespective of price. If I pay said high price and the product does not deliver, it would be my last.
 
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I should send this over to a few doomsayers.

I actually wonder what is NOT saturated nowadays. If that was a requirement, almost no-one would start any business.
There are a lot of local offline opportunities that aren't saturated, but the reason why they aren't saturated is because the barrier of entry is higher, plus you don't get the benefits of running a more passive in its nature online business.

This is something I think about constantly! I am always worried that there are too many competitors in my space.

Stepping back... those competitors are making money, so we know there's a ton of market demand. I just read the part in Unscripted that mentioned something to the effect of "If there are 50 competitors in your space, then you just have to take 1% of business from each of them, and suddenly you have 50% and they each have 49%."

I totally butchered the quote, but you get the idea :shit:
Better to worry about your competitors than worry about a lack of customers which often happens in an industry with no competitors (it's hard to find a lucrative niche without anyone already in it).

There are almost 2 billion sites on the internet so anyone even THINKING about making a site should forget it!
100%. Yet, each day, thousands (my highly unscientific estimate) of people join the ranks of those making a living from their websites.

Sorry to be the devil's advocate but I thought those were important things to mention. On the surface, I agree with the sentiment but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be a factor.
I agree with that. Ideally, you're in a lucrative niche with few competitors. Unfortunately that's not always possible, and I think that the larger problem is that people don't take action at all just because they think that the market is too crowded. Better to enter a too crowded market and do something than be on the sidelines and waste your time pretending you're an entrepreneur.

Disagree.

Being "the best" is all fine and good.

Being "perceived" as the best ... is what makes you rich.

I know countless lawyers who are very good at what they do ... but still struggle to make ends meet. The problem is they don't know how to market themselves. Who cares if they are the best if nobody knows it.
I think that what P.T. Barnum meant wasn't just be the best skill-wise. He also meant being great at promoting yourself. The best of the best are the best not only because of the value they provide, but also because of the way they market themselves. Otherwise they aren't really the best in their industry.

It's always a mix of proper marketing and delivering actual quality results/service, I would say for something to be truly successful after launch it should be 75% quality results/service and 25% marketing.
That's exactly what I meant in my response to @Esquire. Not sure about the percentages, but results/service by itself won't promote your business until you first get some clients (later on, perhaps word of mouth would be sufficient).
 

ShamanKing

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I live near Palmer Chiropractic. This area is so full of Chriopractic Clinics. They are on literally every block and corner. It's ludicrous.
I see the same thing in the Dental field and Car smog station here in Sacramento, CA. As for Chiropractic, I have been going to the franchise "The Joint". Fast, Cash, no appointment.
 

GoodluckChuck

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I should send this over to a few doomsayers.

I actually wonder what is NOT saturated nowadays. If that was a requirement, almost no-one would start any business.
If a market isn't saturated it's usually for a good reason. I usually see it as a warning.
 

LinorCG

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Isn't it why the book Blue Ocean Strategy came out was to address saturated markets and how to find or create new one's?
 

Storm24

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Totally blew my mind that this was written in 1880! Just as relevant then as it is now.

Market saturation is solid proof that there's demand for what's being sold. It's how you differentiate/out-execute that takes you to the top.
And here I was kinda worried about web services/ecommerce/local biz :happy:

Thanks @MTF - you showed me that I still have/had limiting beliefs about this.

Rep+
 
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Thanks for rep, @Storm24. Yeah, it's crazy to think that it's from 1880. It does change your beliefs when you realize that people used to have the same exact excuses 140 years ago.
 

itfactor

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Thanks OP for the share.

Real life story which just happened a few weeks ago.

I knew a 20 something guy who started a housekeeping/home cleaning business. I remember when he first started he pitched his idea in a local forum.

Almost everyone shot him down saying he is doomed to fail in such highly-saturated business.

He kept his head down and continued his business for 2+ years.
Two weeks ago his business just raised 700k in seed money from an investor who enjoyed using the service.

Never say never.
 
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