Where is a good starting place to define your market niche?

Q & A by C.J. HaydenThe best way to go about choosing your market niche depends a lot on the products and services you are selling. For self-employed professionals who market their own services, the formula for a solid niche is: target market + specialty + desire + affinity.

To develop your niche, you should consider each of these four essential elements. By making well-considered choices in each one of these areas, you can identify a profitable and enjoyable niche for a sustainable business.

Target market – The primary audience you want to reach with your business and for whom you would like to design a suite of service packages, products, or programs. Examples: small business owners, managers and executives, or midlife women.

Specialty – The specific area where you wish to help your audience achieve goals or solve problems. Examples: sales and marketing, communication skills, or career transition.

Desire – Your level of interest in serving this target market by assisting them in this specialty area.

Affinity – Your feeling of connectedness to the people, goals, and problems defined by this target market and specialty.

If you’re missing part of the formula, start where you are. A powerful niche is one where you have a clearly defined target market and specialty, plus a high desire and affinity for serving that special group in that specific way. But sometimes the starting place is to choose just a target market and then figure out your specialty, or to decide on your specialty and then determine a target market. This piecemeal approach can still work, as long as you keep moving toward the goal of having both elements defined.

What will doom your enterprise to failure, however, is defining neither a target market nor a specialty. It’s simply too much for one person or a small partnership to simultaneously reach out to multiple markets on a wide variety of topics. A much better approach is to choose just one area — for now — and develop services and products along that theme.

Then when you are successful, have established a consistent client base, and are generating some revenue, you can consider adding a second niche to your business.

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