“Finding the gap in an existing industry and filling it is far less risky than finding the next big idea that pioneers a new industry. Leave that to those who can afford to take the risk.”
~ Raj Girn, Founder, The Open Chest® Confidence Academy
This week’s missive is an important one for me, because it’s based on a concept that I’ve experienced all too many times throughout my career first-hand, and that’s the whole idea of finding that next big idea in business.
In 2002, I founded a new type of media company called ANOKHI (print magazine for the North American South Asian diaspora), which spoke to the emerging dual identity of a culture that was starting to come into its own and gain traction for this new version of its identity.
Many people told me that it was far too risky to cultivate something so niche, but I went ahead anyway, because I believed that if a community exists, no matter its size, it should have the opportunity to showcase itself and be recognized accordingly.
ANOKHI was born to shift a paradigm, where until then, media positioned people through a monochromatic lens of either being mainstream or visibly niche.
On one side, I had the foresight to see that the emergence of a dual identity would create more opportunities to be talked about, so I set sail on unchartered waters to do just that and it paid dividends, as the brand developed from a quarterly, print glossy into a well-received and diversified multi-platform, multimedia enterprise, that included a blog, a coffee table book, a newsletter community, a robust social media network, video and podcast shows, and many event properties.
In addition to our community’s stories, we featured multiple A-list celebrities and thought leaders, and garnered the advertising and sponsorship support of many multinational corporations. People within and outside of the diaspora began to recognize and respect our properties and by default, the niche we represented.
On the flip side, for the inroads that we made, we should have gotten far more financial support than we did, but the advertising community only gave us ten cents on the dollar to other niche media, because they weren’t quite ready to accept that a niche (2nd and 3rd generation) within a niche (South Asian), was a viable option to target. They thought that they could reach them through mainstream magazines in which the community remained faceless. This resulted in many missed opportunities to advance the profile of the community and our media, until the advent of social media, which changed the game by flipping the power dynamic from the corporates to everyday people.
The moral of the story?
The next big idea isn’t always a good business decision, albeit, it may shift the paradigm as ANOKHI did. So be sure to do your due diligence beyond there being a need in the marketplace. Make sure that the need has a viable, long-term opportunity to be financed.
Lucky for ANOKHI that the brand stood the test of time due to 4 micro-pivots along its 19 year history, which has resulted in keeping it relevant to the community it serves, by staying connected to its core mission statement that has never changed – telling the stories of its heroes. Duly, it continues to exist and attract advertisers, personalities, and opportunities to participate in the niche and now mainstream, respectively. In fact, I’m pleased to share that last week on September 23rd ANOKHI and I were honoured with ‘The Stevie Award 2021’ for “Women in Business“ for the work that ANOKHI has done over the past 12 months:
Social Change Maker of the Year – Race
BRONZE STEVIE® WINNERS:
Anokhi Life, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Raj Girn, Founder, President & CEO
I’m super thankful and honoured for the acknowledgement for the very first brand (I have launched two more since then), that I founded 19 years ago, a brand that has stood the test of time!
If you have an idea for a business that you would like to do the due diligence on to decipher whether it is a viable business idea, I have a 4 step process that can help you figure out which side of the fence the odds are stacked towards. Book a free no-obligation discovery call (with me directly), so that I can learn about your idea and for what the possible next steps be for you.
If you do the work with a trusted guide (like me), who has been where you’re looking to go, they can get you there far quicker and far less painfully than doing it all by yourself.
I guide my clients through a proprietary system that includes coaching, consulting, and mentoring one-on-one. This high-touch, customized environment, is best suited for focusing on you and your needs exclusively.
I have garnered my stripes through a combination of lived, learned, and earned experience, where I have created and cultivated 3 brands to respectable authority – professional development brand: The Open Chest Confidence Academy (est. 2020); personal brand: Raj Girn (est. 2011); cultural brand: Anokhi Life (est. 2002). My tenure-ship includes working with Fortune 500 companies, media houses, global thought leaders, celebrities, and influencers/creators on their branding, media, and marketing campaigns.
>>> I have worked with over 5,000 brands over 20 years in the media and communications space, so you’re in good hands with me <<<
I hope to have the opportunity to work with you when you’re ready!
In the meantime, thank you so much for hanging out with me here each week; I sincerely hope I bring some value into your world.
Until next week, take care of yourself and your loved ones!