Why is it important to have a market niche?

Q & A by C.J. HaydenIndependent professionals often struggle with trying to identify their market niche or target market. Sometimes when you are struggling to accomplish something, it can be helpful to look at why you are doing it in the first place. The core reasons for getting it done can frequently provide guidance that all of the tactical how-to’s can’t offer.

So why does an independent professional need a niche in the first place? Here are three reasons:

1. It tells us whether our business model is viable. If we can identify a population who needs our services and can readily afford to pay what we need to charge, it’s likely that our business has a chance of success. If we can’t describe or locate a target group like this, our business may fail.

2. It makes marketing easier, cheaper, faster, and more effective. Without a niche, we can’t tailor our marketing message, we can’t talk about specific results or evidence that give people a reason to work with us, we can’t create a marketing plan that is reasonable for one person or a small firm to accomplish. Without a niche, we spread ourselves too thin trying to market to the universe.

3. It allows us to work with clients with whom we have an affinity and who we have a desire to serve. The first two reasons are clearly business reasons, and this one appears at first glance to be personal. But I find this third factor is often the most essential component of choosing a niche.

Your personal motivation (or not) has an enormous impact on the success of your business. If you don’t enjoy the company of the people you are marketing to, and feel like you have something in common with them, marketing will be an uphill battle. You are likely to find it difficult and distasteful. If you don’t have a compelling desire to be of service to the people who become your clients, they will perceive you as a self-serving salesperson rather than as a professional with their best interests at heart. And, it’s likely that your work will ultimately not be satisfying, so you will become discouraged and wonder why you are doing all this anyway.

So keep these reasons in mind as you search for the right niche. In order to find the best solution, it can be helpful to clarify why you are looking for it.

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