No matter what your industry is, it’s a tough world out there. Competition is usually fierce, with more competitors and innovations to learn about every day. It can be hard to figure out what really sets you apart from the rest and what your unique offering to the world is.
When CEO Neil Mirchandani began DJing at events and renting equipment at the age of 15 — founding the business that would eventually become Atlanta-based LLL Event Furnishings & Rentals (LLL) — there wasn’t too much competition. Or, at least, little enough that his clients were coming to him to rent sofas, lighting, and other event equipment.
But, over the years, he had to fight to stay on top of the luxury event rental market. He did it, though. His business is a fast-paced go-to that employs 35 event specialists that work from a 70,000-square-foot warehouse that is chock-full of the gorgeous items that dress the sets of movies and TV series, the backdrops for celeb weddings and music videos, top-tier sporting events, and much more.
“There are niches in every market. You must observe what people want and how that matches your unique strengths. That’s how you master a market subsection and make your mark on it,” said Mirchandani.
Known as the ‘Hollywood of the South’s’ go-to event rental company, LLL’s revenue topped $11 million this year. Here are its founders’ best tips for finding your niche within your market and becoming the master of it.
Know Your Strength
“If you want to be successful in business, you have to do something better than anybody else is doing it,” advised Mirchandani.
For him, he realized that it was his ability to meet unusual demands and quick turnarounds without ever hitting the panic button. That’s how he became the man in Atlanta for big Hollywood project rentals.
“They ask for a lot, and I’m always crazy — and dedicated — enough to say yes! That’s my strength, and renting the highest quality items, of course,” he said.
When his company recently dressed the sets for the Netflix show Love is Blind, there were crazy hours and fast turnarounds needed. From creating custom items and fixing things that get broken during production, no two days are the same, and that’s where Mirchandani’s strength lies.
“Basically, everything has to be done overnight in this business,” he said. “It can make the wrong kind of personality stressed out and frantic, but I know that my team and I thrive on the activity and energy needed for these projects.”
Study the Market
The founder suggests you study your competitors to determine where your niche may lie. “Look at your biggest competitors — both nationally and locally. What are they doing well? What can you learn from their styles, cultures, and innovations? And, on the flip side, what are they not doing well that you can improve on,” said the CEO.
One especially novel technique for getting close to the competition is to spend time in close contact with them by becoming an employee or a customer. At close range, you can learn more about their strengths, weaknesses, concerns, and triumphs. Everything you learn can then be applied to your business, deciding a niche, and then mastering it.
Find Informal Mentors
“Whoever you want to learn from, pick up the phone, call them, and ask your questions. The worst they can say is no,” shared Mirchandani.
He’s done this himself and knows of its efficacy firsthand. He once found the phone number for the CEO of a $300 million company — someone he was very impressed with — and asked if he’d talk on the phone and give him advice. Finding the positive attention flattering and enjoying a captive audience, the CEO said yes and gave him some priceless advice and insight.
That CEO, by the way, was in a completely unrelated industry to Mirchandani, which might be one of the reasons he was willing to speak candidly, knowing the young man on the phone was not a would-be competitor. “I try to surround myself with people who are more successful than me, and I learn from them, no matter what their fields are,” he said.
Using this wise advice from one of Atlanta’s best business people, locating your niche and moving toward its mastery just became that much easier.
About Neil Mirchandani
Neil Mirchandani is the founder and CEO of LLL Event Furnishings & Rentals, an Atlanta-based multi-million dollar event rental, furniture, drapery and dance floor provider. The company is the #1 furnishing provider for film sets, music videos, sporting, corporate and other events in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about the Southeast’s largest selection of quality lounge furniture, fit for all social and corporate events, please visit: https://luxuryloungeatl.com/