Everyone in business has heard the advice to “niche” down. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re an online entrepreneur or an in-person service provider, you have to niche.
Why? Because the saying “the riches are in the niches” is true – businesses who find a specific audience to serve or a unique way to offer their product or service to a specific subset of customers always does well, provided there is a demand for what they offer.
Think about it, if you’re looking for a personal trainer to help you train for a Powerlifting meet, would you rather hire a personal trainer that dabbles in a little of everything or one that competes in and specializes in powerlifting? The latter, right?
Of course – but how do you actually go about finding this niche for your business?
What is a Niche in Business?
A niche refers to a market segment you can serve, so a product or service that provides a specific group of people with a solution to their problem.
How Do You Find Your Niche?
The first thing you should do if you’ve been agonizing over what niche you should choose to move your business into is relax. The truth is, most businesses don’t start in the niche in which they thrive, they start serving a wide array of customers and then find the ones they absolutely love serving and provide specific services or products to them.
Your niche does not have to be your passion – of course, you need to be passionate about serving your niche, but you don’t have to be all-consumed by it yourself. If you’re a bookkeeper you may find that serving fish and pet wholesalers is where you truly thrive, but that doesn’t mean you have to be as knowledgeable as your clients about all the different fish and pets they sell. You need to be passionate enough to care to know their businesses inside-out, but you don’t need the same level of passion as the people who actually run those businesses.
Equally, if you’re a bookkeeper you don’t have to daydream about organizing spreadsheets – some aspects of businesses just aren’t sexy enough to build a burning passion, and that’s okay. You just need to be passionate about serving your customers.
It’s All About Your Messaging
Think about a car you’d love to own – maybe it’s a luxury SUV, maybe it’s a sports car – and let me ask you this, “why do I want that car? How would it make me feel?” Run through the reasons quickly in your head. It’s often about the way it makes you feel, how you think people will perceive you, and you’ll also think about the practicalities of owning that car.
Now think of a car you would never own, and quickly list the reasons why not.
Now consider this: both essentially do the same thing, but one has been made and marketed to speak directly to you, while the other hasn’t. Someone out there will, likely, adore that car. They should both get you from A to B. One will just to it better for you than the other.
Your messaging (whether it be for a product or a service) needs to sell your product to someone or a group of people in particular, not just anyone.
Imagine if Mercedes came out with a new GLE model and marketed it as, “The GLE. Get’s You and Your Kids from A to B.” No mention of the fact it’s a luxury vehicle, how it will make you feel, how envious the people you know may be – nothing. They’re not likely to sell any on that messaging.
… But It’s Also About Your Enjoyment
You can nail your niche and your messaging and get a ton of customers, but if they’re all the wrong customers for you, the day-to-day running of your business will feel like wading through molasses. Sure, it’s sweet to have all that cash, but it’s a slog.
That’s why you need to tweak your niche regularly to get more of the clients you find it energizing to work with.
How to Find Your Niche
The truth is, you probably won’t find your ideal niche overnight.
If you are looking to start a business from scratch, look for a problem you are passionate about solving and do so – and don’t dilute your offering. Offer 1-3 central products or services at first and find something that is in demand.
If you’re in business (or when you’ve completed that step) it’s time to seek out your true niche. This isn’t just the specific product or service you offer to your clients, but a focus on a particular set of clients. When you do this well, you become the business for that specific offering – and you’ll get all the customers in that market.
Some examples to help you are:
- Niching down from being a bookkeeper for online businesses to e-commerce only
- Niching down from personal training to coaching for powerlifting events
- Niching down from doing social media management for small businesses to only boutique clothing brands
- Niching down from offering physical planners to planners specifically for teachers
That’s how you niche effectively. You don’t try to guess where your niche will be (unless you’re the target audience and you have found no solution), you find your place in the market, find customers you love to serve and do it better than anyone else on the market. Do this effectively, and you’ll have a thriving business that is the go-to for your niche’s customers.