Startup Niching: How & Why (S8E3)


In our next episode, we kick things off with the season’s very first Blox-Off, and if you’re not already in the know, here’s what goes down in these intense showdowns: Winners from each pod take center stage to face an unknown challenge while their fellow pod victors retreat to a soundproof room. The judges then cast their rankings based on these spontaneous performances and combined with the results from the daily challenge and consult sessions, they determined the top three competitors of The Blox leaderboard. These three teams will proudly sport the season’s first red jerseys, instantly marking them as the ones to watch out for.

But that’s not all; this action-packed episode also provides a fascinating lesson on the art of startup niching. It’s an eye-opener for our contestants, sparking numerous lightbulb moments as they explore the power of specialization in the world of entrepreneurship. It’s an episode filled with high stakes and enlightening insights that you won’t want to miss!


At the episode’s outset, seven anxious Bloxers brace themselves for their inaugural Blox-Off, a challenging long-form pop quiz. It’s no cakewalk; the pod winners must not only decipher terms from the day’s lesson, such as “build, measure, learn,” “innovation accounting,” and “split testing,” but they must also apply these concepts to their businesses on the spot. The Blox-Off is quite a rollercoaster, with some contestants really shining and others having their fair share of challenges. It’s within this dynamic arena that we introduce the very first top three teams of the season, and they wear their red jerseys with pride.

While the dust settles after this intense first night, some contestants find solace in relaxation, a game of pool, and reflective conversations. They share unique journeys into the competition, sharing the “why” behind their presence here.

The following morning, the pod winners and judges convene over breakfast to discuss their businesses and kickstart the day with strategic planning. Balancing the pursuit of impact with revenue generation is at the forefront of their conversation, and they explore how their business missions align with their personal life missions.

Day two’s lesson revolves around the art of startup niching. It’s all about building your community as you craft your product and service – the larger your community, the greater your brand and product’s value. The concept of critical mass takes center stage, influencing your reputation in the industry. Imagine it like a party – it’s not just about how many are present; it’s about how many are perceived to be there and how we create the illusion of a bustling event. The mantra is to start as a big fish in a small pond before becoming the big shark in the ocean.

Many Bloxers experience a significant “a-ha” moment, realizing they’ve been juggling too many tasks simultaneously and are inspired to make a change. The stage is set for Episode Four, teeming with fresh challenges, new consults, and the announcement of new Blox-Off victors. Stay tuned!


In today’s lesson, we explore the essential concepts of network effects, Metcalfe’s Law, Critical Mass, Escape Velocity, and the power of niching. Network effects emphasize that the greater the number of users within a service or community, the more valuable it becomes. Critical mass is defined as the “product/market fit” of network effects, marking the moment when the community reaches a threshold where new benefits are unlocked. Escape velocity signifies the point at which growth accelerates due to the newfound value. The importance of niching is highlighted through the Beachhead Strategy, a metaphor from the Normandy landings during World War II. It emphasizes the advantages of focusing resources and efforts on a specific target, enabling efficient market penetration. Radical niching goes even further, aiming to create a monopoly within a niche market. The strategy involves starting small and expanding concentrically into neighboring markets to maintain momentum. By concentrating on a smaller market, businesses can define a clear value proposition, simplify pricing, and resonate with their core audience. This strategic approach not only allows for market ownership but also facilitates growth in concentric circles, expanding into larger markets with established momentum.


  1. Metcalfe’s Law means that the greater the number of users with the service, the more valuable the service becomes to the community.
  2. Sometimes it’s best to go even beyond “niching” and into what we refer to as radical niching. This is done in the pursuit of throwing a party in a smaller room to make it feel more full.
  3. Our processes don’t have to be big, rigid, complicated – things can just be done manually at first
  4. If you keep niching until you’re the top dog in the market, you’ve created a “monopoly”. Not because you’ve beat all your competitors, but because you’ve created a story, and a market, where no one else is competing.
  5. After winning and monopolizing your extremely small market, find “neighboring” markets to grow into. The momentum from winning the first market will make going after the slightly larger market easier to win. It’s like the first go around gave you street cred to enter the larger market.

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Meet The Judges

Adam C. Hanna
Adam C. Hanna
Founder & CEO, Tactical Elite Enterprises - Baton Rouge, LA

Adam C. Hanna, a United States Army Veteran and Security Professional, is a native to Baton Rouge, Louisiana with over 10 years of combined experience in the military, law enforcement, security management, and physical protection industry. He has worked in every aspect of the security industry from the government level to the private sector. Adam has received extensive training from his experience in the military, local law enforcement, and private security industry. His military training includes his initial training at the United State Army School of Military Intelligence at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. While there he also attended Cochise college for his AA in Intelligence Operations. He has attended college at Northwestern State University, where he began to study Criminal Justice and was a member of their AROTC program. Adam’s large background in Law Enforcement, Security and Protection includes everything from Executives, Doctors, Celebrities, and Foreign Nationals. He has provided security services for billionaire mansions, high risk workplace violence details, prominent families, celebrities, clubs, concerts, and professional athletes. He has managed and supervised a number of private security companies throughout the United States. He was on a task force commissioned by SFPD which ran warrants though SFHA projects. Adam has lead personal protection details in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Denver, and in the Colorado Springs area.

Heidi Luerra
Heidi Luerra
Founder & CEO of Raw Artist - Temecula, CA

For 20 years, Heidi Luerra has built, bootstrapped, and founded businesses in creative industries such as the arts, entertainment, fashion, and technology. With a strong and innate entrepreneurial spirit, Heidi started her first business when she was only 11 years old and has since built and sustained a global multi-million dollar enterprise, wrote and published her own book, and worked with thousands of creative companies throughout her career to date. With a deep respect for the underdog, her businesses have largely been built on the notion that entrepreneurs and creators deserve to be seen and heard. By harnessing technology, and unorthodox creative problem-solving she’s managed to disrupt industries, democratize communities, and build platforms that clear space to incubate this personal mission.

Justin Prestidge
Justin Prestidge
Owner, Custom Trailer Pros - Kansas City, MO

Justin created Custom Trailer Pros in 2012 with the specific goal of serving people who are wanting to get into the mobile food industry. At that time, there were very few who were able to effectively help those in this emerging market, and there was no one who was solely dedicated to it. From day one, Justin has been passionate about partnering with his customers – not just selling them a product – and he has created a team of people who all carry this same passion.

Lily Mockerman
Lily Mockerman
Founder & CEO, Total Customized Revenue Management - Austin, TX

President and CEO of Total Customized Revenue Management (TCRM), Lily is a passionate and devoted leader and practitioner in the revenue management field. Lily earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Management from Johnson & Wales University. Following graduation, Lily’s career encompassed a variety of roles and responsibilities, including positions with independent full-service, boutique and resort hotels, and work with major brands including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels, and Hyatt, and various management companies. With 13 years of diverse hospitality experience under her belt, Lily founded TCRM in 2012 leveraging her vision to become the premier provider of revenue management services for the hospitality community. In recognition of these efforts, she was named 2015 Revenue Management Professional of the Year by HSMAI’s Arizona Chapter. TCRM continues to grow under Lily’s leadership and has recently begun to expand into international markets.

Michael Cole
Michael Cole
President, Next Level Technician - Tega Cay, SC

Michael’s journey began on the distribution side of the telecom industry, where he sold the very products that technicians install. It didn’t take long for him to recognize a common need among customers: a demand for skilled technicians. This realization led him to embark on the path of training technicians to fill these vital roles, which eventually evolved into the establishment of Next Level Technician, a comprehensive staffing business. With over 20 years of combined experience in the telecommunications industry, Michael and his management team are well-versed in the field, understanding the needs and desires of both organizations and technicians. They consistently make the right connections, ensuring success in the ever-evolving world of structured cabling, fiber, AV, DAS, data center/collocation, and various other telecom applications. Michael Cole’s dedication to his role as a family man and his passion for helping individuals and organizations make him a notable figure in the industry.

Omar Ghadry
Omar Ghadry
Founder Advisor - International Nomad

Omar Ghadry has adventured through startup, corporate and growth stage organizations since 2002, building from concept to real business in different models, environments, and technological eras. Omar holds agency-quality digital and strategic expertise, born from consulting, advisory and startup experiences across industry: USG, edtech, healthcare, e-com, cannabis, creator/gig economy, beauty care, home services, cybersecurity, and CPG. While he enjoys winning “work passions”, Omar spends a lot of time meandering this life through writing, reading, sports, travel, deep existential conversation, and the celebration of other people’s most important moments.

Todd Putz
Todd Putz
Owner, Bottom Top Investments - Dayton, OH

Growing up Poor in Dayton, OH, Todd found a grind to do more, see more, be more and make more than his parents and those around him. Real Estate Investing became the ticket and Todd has grown his long-term portfolio to over 600 doors while his property management company handles another 500 doors for investors. Todd is also recognized as one of the top investment realtors in his area. His team still focuses on flips and wholesales to fund the other companies. Todd and his wife also own and operate developmental disability homes as well as mental health facilities. They have 3 awesome kids and love to travel the world.

Wendell Holland
Wendell Holland
Owner & Founder, Beve - Philadelphia, PA

Wendell grew up a creative and athletic child in the western Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion. He received his BA in International Studies from Morehouse College, and JD from University of Pennsylvania Law School. After being a law clerk in Philadelphia Civil Court and Family Court, he took a leap of faith and turned his passion of building furniture into a career. Within years, he knew he made the right decision as other doors began opening. In 2018 one of his goals came true when he was cast on the CBS show Survivor: Ghost Island, and he won the show. Winning Survivor proved to Wendell that anything is attainable, and that has been his stance on life ever since. He now dreams of taking Beve to new heights.

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