As the band Poison once sang, “Every rose has its thorn, just like every night has its dawn.” They didn’t sing “every business has its niche,” but if Bret Michaels had thought of that, he would have put it in. It might have sounded like gibberish in 1988, but it’s a song lyric. Since when have they had to make sense?
What it would have been, is accurate. All businesses have their sector, and this does lead to a certain amount of moral hierarchy. There are countless businesses that are aimed at servicing needs that some would consider less “wholesome.” If you picture the business world as one big party then these businesses are the ones congregating outside, being frowned at by the others.
Let’s set aside a few things right away. It doesn’t matter that, very often, the people who run the “clean” businesses are customers of the “dirty” ones. It doesn’t matter that the risky businesses are a huge part of any Western economy. The facts are that they are seen as “different,” and that they have more difficulty availing of assistance the others take for granted.
So if you’re in what is considered a “high risk” niche, you need to work harder to maximize chances of success. We can take a libertarian attitude as much as we want, but you play the rules that are in front of you. And the one rule that governs all business is money. If you don’t make and keep enough, your business will fail.
Rule #1: You Need To Make As Much As You Can
Like any other business in the world, a high risk business such as dating or tobacco needs to make as much money as possible. Part of the reason these businesses are high risk is that customers want to be secretive about using them. This can lead to you being a target for fraud. You need to source a high risk merchant account to make sure that doesn’t come back to bite you.
Rule #2: Even If You Operate In The Dark, Keep Your Hands Clean
Being in a high risk niche may make a business more prone to using underhand tactics to sell to customers. Black hat SEO is always tempting, and you may think you have little to lose from using it. But the search engines are effectively morally blind. It can be adult entertainment or soft furnishings, all they’re looking at is the techniques. And they’ll downrank you if they catch you cheating.
Rule #3: Happy Customers Are Repeat Customers
Just as the search engines are morally neutral, so is money. Some people will judge risky niches; it’s inevitable. To some people, there is little difference between a vape shop and a drug dealer. But your customers pay money for a service and are entitled to a positive customer experience.
Even if you’re in a risky niche, your website doesn’t need to look like the online equivalent of a back-alley speakeasy. Your customer’s experience should be of an efficient service that makes them want to come back for more. Be better than the competition in every way possible.