Many business owners, when they start out, want to market to anyone and everyone who will buy their products or services. I was one of those business owners. And I didn’t make the mistake once; I made it twice.
Business #1 – True to You Life Coaching offered life coaching services to anyone who wanted to change their life. Geez, doesn’t everyone want to make some sort of change in their lives? After struggling to find clients, True to You Life Coaching evolved into Momnificent! Momnificent! offered life coaching services to moms who wanted to live balanced and healthy lives. Much better, but still failed. I didn’t pick a “viable” niche. Although moms needed and wanted my service, they couldn’t justify paying for life coaching.
Business #2 – Virtual Office Manager offered office management services to small business owners. This time, I found a viable niche that was willing to pay money for my services. However, there was one problem. Some of the clients reaching out for my services were not a good fit for me. I didn’t enjoy their business, and it affected my passion to serve. Today I serve coaches, therapists, and healthcare professionals and my business is thriving.
One of the best ways to succeed in your business and target your marketing is to pick a niche. Although at first it may feel limiting, you will find that exactly the opposite is true. Richard Branson said, “If you can change people’s lives, you have a business.” In other words, find a group of people and solve their problem or improve something that is meaningful to them.
I have the privilege of working with a lot of different coaches and therapists. Almost all of them have defined their niche, at least on some level. However, many of them could afford to narrow their niche even further to make it easier on them to attract the ideal clients they would best serve. Your niche should be crystal clear to everyone who hears your message. Your ideal client should think “That is exactly what I need, and that business totally understands and has the expertise to help me.” On the flip side, as the business owner, you should know immediately if a person fits your target market or niche, and you should know exactly where to find them. Don’t waste your valuable time chasing someone who is not in your niche. The tighter your niche, the better for you and your clients.
So how do you know if you have picked the right niche for your business? Use these five guidelines to solidify your choice.
If you are going to put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business, you better be passionate about what you do, and who you serve. Your passion will come through in everything you do – your elevator speech, the articles you write, your web content, your telephone consultations, etc. And passion is magnetic. People do business with people, and most of us are drawn to positive and infectious energy. Close your eyes and think about how you feel when you think about a potential niche. Does it excite you, depress you, or does it have no effect on you at all?
The hard facts are your niche has to be willing to open their wallets. Think about their pain points in life. Does your business relieve their pain? What’s important to your niche? What does your business offer that speaks to their values? Are your values aligned with theirs? And does your niche have money to spend? There are groups of people that simply do not have the disposable income needed to invest in certain products/services. Do your research before committing to a niche. Make sure this group of people need and want what you offer. Check out your competition to see how you can differentiate yourself. Do market research on what this niche will pay.
This idea might go against your grain, but I encourage you to entertain the idea. Almost any group of people can be broken into many sub-groups, and those sub-groups can be broken down even further. Think about the niche of moms, for instance. There are millions of moms in this world. Just to name a few, there are moms of teenagers, moms of multiples, moms with special needs children, and first-time moms with babies. If you start thinking about moms with teenage girls, moms of triplets, moms with autistic children, or older aged moms with babies, you have even narrower groups. It’s much easier to speak to a smaller group and convince them why they need your service/product. A smaller niche allows for the intimacy and exclusivity that people like to experience.
When I first opened Virtual Office Manager, my first client was a real estate agent. My mother was a real estate agent, so I understand the basics of buying/selling homes. But truthfully, I don’t have any experience or expertise in the real estate industry. There was a huge learning curve for me, and my client quickly became frustrated with me. This frustration soured our relationship, and my desire to serve dwindled away. When my second and third clients came along (therapist and executive coach, respectively), it quickly became apparent that I had the expertise to help these individuals. With eight years’ experience growing and managing a life coaching practice, there was no learning involved. I was teaching them what I learned. Your niche will assume you know what you’re doing – you are the expert. So, choose a group that will welcome your expertise.
The last thing you want to do is pick a niche in a market that is completely saturated. When I started Momnificent!, I was on the cutting edge. Life coaching was a fairly new service, and virtually no one was offering this service to mothers. Although there is often a fair amount of education involved in picking an emerging market, the payoffs can be tremendous. Many of today’s successful businesses (Starbucks, Amazon, Airbnb, Uber) started with an idea that was new to people. Chances are they encountered a lot of naysayers trying to convince them their concept would never work. But if you’re one of the first to serve a group of people, and change their lives in an important way, you will be in the game before your competition catches on.
Your niche, whatever you choose, will help you build your brand. It will make your marketing easy. Clients will find you, instead of the opposite, you are searching for them. In a short amount of time, you will establish yourself as the go-to person or organization for your niche, and your business will grow naturally. But I think the greatest payoff will be the excitement and fulfillment you will feel in making a difference for individuals that you love working with.
Think You Don’t Need a Niche? Think Again…
May 11, 2018