C-Suite Lifestyle

Overcoming the Challenges of Launching a Unique Business

thinking businessman

Launching and succeeding with an innovative, one-of-a-kind business is an exhilarating yet daunting journey. With the right strategy and determination, however, entrepreneurs can stand out in a crowded marketplace and create a profitable venture. It takes a combination of creativity, hard work, and marketing savvy to capture the attention of your target market and differentiate yourself from the competition. With the right approach and mindset, success is within reach, along with the satisfaction of creating something unique and watching it take off. 

The Vision and Mindset Needed to Succeed

One of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs launching a unique or unusual business is the lack of a proven business model. Unlike more established industries, there may not be a clear roadmap for how to build and scale a business in a new or niche market. This can make it difficult for entrepreneurs to secure funding, attract customers and build a team. Lack of understanding from the public or potential investors can also be a hindrance, especially if your business involves new and unfamiliar technologies or products.

To overcome these challenges, entrepreneurs must have a clear and compelling vision for their business and be able to effectively communicate that vision to potential customers, investors, and team members. This means identifying a specific problem or need that your business will address, and then developing a plan for how you will meet that need better than anyone else.

The Human Hair Wig Maker Giving Women Confidence and Freedom

One such entrepreneur who has made a significant impact in her field is Shani Lechan, the founder of Shani Wigs. Her human hair wigs are considered to be the most natural looking and realistic option available for those suffering from hair loss due to alopecia or cancer, or for those who must wear a wig for religious reasons. They can be styled, colored and cut to match the individual’s natural hair, providing a sense of normality and confidence.

Lechan comments, ‘I have dedicated myself to providing a personalized experience for each client, working closely with them to ensure that their wig is a perfect match for their unique needs and preferences. Although my unusual business does occasionally raise some eyebrows, I feel good that I can make such a positive impact on people’s lives.’

The Benefits of Market Research

Successful entrepreneurs often have a sixth sense for what will catch on, even if it is completely new. But, to really be sure, they should also use market research to gain a better understanding of their target market and tailor their products and services to meet the specific needs of their customers. 

Target’s failure in Canada is a clear example of the importance of conducting thorough market research before expanding into a new market. When the company expanded into Canada in 2013, it failed to take into account the unique characteristics of the Canadian market, such as the high cost of real estate and the strong competition from established retailers. As a result, it struggled to find a foothold in the Canadian market and ultimately had to close all of its stores in Canada in 2015, resulting in a loss of over $2 billion. 

The Success of Spanx 

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, however, started her business with just $5,000 and a great idea for a new type of shapewear. By all accounts, with little in the way of formal research, she took the concept of control-top pantyhose and created a line of slimming undergarments. Spanx quickly gained popularity, and today it’s become a billion-dollar business. 

According to Blakely, she created the prototype for Spanx by cutting the feet off of her pantyhose, in order to wear them under white pants. She then began to sell her product to local boutiques, and eventually to larger retailers through her own sales efforts. It can be argued that Blakely’s lack of market research was compensated by her strong understanding of her target market and her ability to identify a specific problem or need that her business addressed. It’s also worth mentioning that Spanx started with a relatively low investment, with only $5,000 from her personal savings. If all had failed, her losses would have been minimal.

Accidental Hits and Unforeseen Triumphs

So, does that mean market research isn’t always necessary? Well, on one hand, it can give you valuable insights into issues that could derail your fledgling business. On the other hand, it can’t replace ‘gut feelings’ – that strong inner sense that something will work. No amount of research can anticipate trends that come out of left field. Just think of the long list of businesses that succeeded by accident or after initial failures – companies such as Apple, Nintendo and Dyson, to name a few. These outliers defied the odds to become behemoths of the business world – ideas so radical that no one could have predicted they would be successful.

The Role of Risk-Taking and Disruption in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of innovation often create entirely new markets. They have the vision and ability to identify and address unmet needs in the marketplace, which leads to the creation of new products, services and industries. They are not afraid to take risks and challenge the status quo. Examples include Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, which created the social media market, and Jeff Bezos with Amazon, which created the e-commerce market. Uber, Airbnb and Tesla collectively created the sharing economy market and the sustainable energy market. But not only that, they have also changed the way we live and work.

While visionary leadership, market research, planning, a solid team and persistence all help to establish a niche business, they cannot guarantee its success. That, it seems, is in the hands of the public. If an idea, product or service meets innate needs, whether people realize those needs or not, it has a much greater chance of being accepted. The question remains, what are those needs and how can we meet them?


Written by Vanessa Lau.
Have you read?
Three Priorities for Small and Medium Businesses in 2023 by Ben Schreiner.
Equality between men and women in the workplace: will we ever achieve it by Riccardo Pandini.
Should Marketing Get a Free Pass on ROI by Jim Everhart.
Do You Get Triggered in Business by Sarah Cordiner.
The Ins and Outs of Creating a Purpose-Driven Company by Bryan Adams.

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Vanessa Lau
Vanessa Lau is an online entrepreneur, social media educator, and content marketing expert. She teaches new entrepreneurs how to build their influence and scale their businesses using the power of social media. After quitting her 9-5, she started a YouTube channel and amassed a digital reach of 600k+ subscribers on Youtube and over 200k+ followers on Instagram, all while building a multi-million dollar digital education business. Today she's passionate about helping creators and entrepreneurs tap into the social media space so they can monetize their expertise and create global impact.


Vanessa Lau is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.