How To Determine What Industry Your Business Is In

This article will give you some criteria for determining what industry your business is in.

If you own a small business, it’s important to have a thorough grasp of what industry your business operates within.

This isn’t just for record-keeping but can help you spot potential business trends. There are several clear advantages to specializing within a single industry.

Here are some factors you can look for to determine your business’s primary industry.

Business line(s)

Photo of people doing handshakes

Most businesses have a customer service line or offer a selection of services that are an extension of their main business.

Here are some ways you can identify this for your business:

  • Are you your company’s only service?
  • Is your company a unique selling proposition?
  • Is your business more service-oriented, or product-oriented?
  • Do you advertise on radio or television?

Based on the above, you’ll see that service providers are typically, and relatively more unique than most businesses.

Cost of business

Businesses that aren’t capable of turning a profit tend to only sell a single product.

If your business is reliant on a single product, your business is likely only going to be successful if that product continues to increase in value over time.

Dependency relationships

If you’re reliant on one single customer to keep you going, your business’s business plan will never fully come to fruition.

Let’s say you are reliant on buying products from one particular farmer for your entire year’s produce.

In this case, your whole year’s produce isn’t valuable enough to you to make it worth your while to continue buying it from the farmer.

Customer service

two women near tables

These days it’s common for your business to have a phone number, a website, and a Facebook page.

Many of the big players also offer in-store pick-up and delivery.

This is a clear indicator that your business is not doing business in a vacuum, but is a more regular in-person transaction.

Your customer service representative should answer questions without prompting, and make sure your customer is always happy.

The industry you’re operating in should also provide you with customers with a variety of options.


From this, you can determine the types of customers your business will work with.

Conservatively, you can look for customers with a wide range of values. If you only ever deal with the cheaper end of the market, your business is less likely to be successful.

Knowing what type of customer you’re looking for will help you to tailor your customer service.

What the industry is missing

This is the most important factor, as the services and products your business offers are a reflection of your business’s primary function.

It’s easy for companies to get confused when they move into a new industry because their business is more than just their primary function, but more of a marketing tool.

An example of this would be a grocery store that only sold beer.

It’s more than just selling beer. That’s what the beer is for, but what’s in it for the grocery store?

No matter what you sell, you need to have customers.

You need to have a reason for your business or a reason customers want to visit your business.

This is where you need to look for:


The number one factor determining if your business will succeed or fail is your product or service.

No matter what your product is, you need customers. If your product is useless or worthless, it will never make money.

Here are some of the main factors that will help determine your business’s primary industry:


money, kitchen, money recipes

Customers will only spend money when they know what they’re buying.

The more knowledge a customer has about your product or service, the more they’re likely to spend on it.

How much you know about your product or service will depend on how much effort you’re willing to put into marketing and educating your customers.

Once you’ve figured out what type of business you’re running, it’s time to look at some of the most popular industries.

If you’re looking for a unique product or service, you’re in luck.

It can be a big mistake to stick to what’s popular, as more than likely you won’t be able to beat the competition in the marketplace.

Instead, think about what customers are looking for, and think of a way to provide that.

If you’re looking for a unique service or product, your niche is likely already popular.

Here are some common niches, with examples of popular businesses that fit them:

  • Massage Therapy
  • Beauty & Tanning
  • Financial Services
  • Publishing & Publishing
  • Clothing & Clothing Services

These niches are popular because they’re constantly being sold, or updated to provide a better customer experience.

There are always more people looking for a new massage therapist, a more fashionable clothes store, and a greater variety of printing services.

If you want your niche to survive, you need to keep your competitors out of your niche.

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