[ A guest post by Caitlin Tally who covers everything from personal to professional finance. In her spare time she likes to hike; she especially enjoys the Grand Canyon's Hermit Trail. ]
Starting small and then growing big isn’t just a description of childhood. It is also an accurate statement about the development of the business vertical or niche market. Verticals, including cloud-computing services, form a sector of entrepreneurship in which women excel.
One of those success stories is Amy Rutt, who founded her IT company Ciracom in 1999. Although still small in some respects — Rutt employs only seven staff members — the Alexandria, Virginia, Ciracom has an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau and provides cloud services to federal agencies through a contract with the General Service Administration.
Up in the Cloud
Ciracom’s specialties include helping to securely migrate information from in-house IT departments to remote cloud servers and providing additional cloud backup. Speaking with the GovWin website, Rutt said it takes up to 60 months to help a government agency negotiate a move to cloud services and storage.
Roughly speaking, you can think of cloud computing as storing data and other information in “electronic vaults” in order to avoid the costs and delays of maintaining your own server systems and IT staff. Cloud backup is a service that duplicates and stores your information already on file, at remote servers.
Businesswomen from many fields are succeeding by narrowing their focus to a specific niche need within their service or product areas. By specializing in a niche market, they sharpen their ability to meet specific client needs and provide excellent service.
Women Helping Women
In order to work, women around the world need the help of niche businesses such as Fleximoms, a company started in India by Sairee Chahal. Fleximoms advises working mothers on seeking flextime and achieving work-life balance in a country where more and more women are holding jobs outside the home. Florida Today notes that Fleximoms is now India’s major networking tool and job board for working mothers.
Many female entrepreneurs are finding niches in which they can assist other working women. The Open Forum website, which focuses on fueling small business success, reports that 250 women registered to participate in the U.S.-based working women’s network Project Eve within the organization’s first 24 hours online.
Project Eve helps women who own or are thinking about starting a business. Its goals include helping women to help each other by sharing information about business practices and career journeys. Owners Meredith Dennes and Kim Oksenberg say they are hoping to create an environment of collaboration, as well as a network in which women hire women.
Kim Oksenberg about Project Eve.
The organization CloudNOW is an even more sharply defined example of a woman-to-woman niche organization. It is a nonprofit consortium of female cloud computing executives intent on strengthening their role in that industry and aiding the technological development of women worldwide.
According to The Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch, the female vice president of marketing at one Seattle cloud storage and backup company demonstrated the power of sisterhood by persuading her company to sponsor CloudNOW.
Researching Your Niche
Whether carving out a niche in the IT industry, helping other women gain a foothold in the entrepreneurial world or creating a bakery based on designer cupcakes, it appears that women are finding career growth in business verticals.
How do you develop a niche? Communications executive Claire Munn, writing at the Women 2.0 website, says that two of the most important rules are to make sure your idea is relevant to other people and do thorough research. Striving to meet a need that few other businesses are meeting will move you toward success and satisfaction.