Have you ever longed to do business under the radar?

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BatmanWhat is an under-the-radar business? It’s not a business that does dubious activity but rather a business that is not out there in the gaze of the public eye.

For a fictional example think of Wayne Enterprises, the corporation owned by Bruce Wayne which is tucked away manufacturing special gadgets such as Bat Poles, Batarang rang, Bat Sleep Gas, Bat Rope and Bat-analyst. This is just a tiny list of the numerous gadgets that are produced by the The Wayne Foundation which helps the Caped Crusader fight crime and criminals.

The Batman doesn’t sell these gadgets but rather uses them to fight an assortment of villains which include the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler and Two-Face.

In real life there are under-the-radar market leaders who operate behind-the-scenes businesses. Business Week covered some of these companies such as a company with a social network mobile messaging app adding more than 700,000 users a day, a manufacturer of precision camera lenses found in iPhones and other mobile device; and a company which does cloud accounting and dominates the small business market for cloud-based accounting software – to name just a few.

Here at home you find under-the-radar businesses particularly in the area of component manufacturing. Often these low-profile companies supply components and key ingredients to other companies. But there are also small businesses who operate under the radar well away from main street, shopping malls or online websites.

These small businesses that I know of which operate under the radar have built their customer base over time and usually have a speciality that other businesses would find difficult to compete with. One such business operates from a suburban home and because the small business owner has a huge customer database, he never needs to advertise.

It may well not be possible for a start-up to go under the radar at the outset but it might form part of a longer-term goal or ambition. In market places that are increasingly over traded and where barriers to entry are low, it might make sense to go underground where prying, envious eyes aren’t able to spy on your business activities. You certainly won’t have the luxury of the Batman doing as he pleases in his Batcave but at least you will eventually have a well-defined market all to yourself.

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