Carving Out Your Niche


Article by Frank TraditiIt’s a strong temptation when starting out with a new business to market to everyone. You don’t want to miss out on any possible opportunity. If you take the approach that anyone can be a client, how can you lose?

New freelancers, independent consultants, and small business owners often tell me that their target client base includes a huge variety of types of people or companies. It seems they want to be all things to all people. Do you know how difficult it is to be all things to all people?

When was the last time you had the electrician paint your house? Should your interior decorator fix your car? You can see how this might present a few problems.

Even at this early stage of your business, you need to begin carving out a specific niche for your products and services. Marketing, selling and delivering your services to a niche market comes with several benefits:

  • You become intimate with that group’s problems and challenges
  • You get really smart about their unique needs
  • You become an expert in how your niche market conducts business
  • You better understand and are able to react to trends
  • You become a highly valued resource to a select group
  • You’ll be asked to present to groups interested in what you have to offer
  • Niche groups like to refer business among themselves
  • Your marketing efforts become much easier

Carving out a niche might mean making a big change for you. Many times, the most difficult part is getting past the fear that you might be limiting your reach to potential clients. Actually, creating and sticking to a specific market niche can be very prosperous. You’ll build relationships with a loyal following that can continually generate business for you.

Here are some suggested steps for identifying the best market niche for your business:

1. Review every customer you have today and those you’ve served over the past 12 months.

2. Segment them into categories: business size, geographic location, industry type, age, income bracket, profession, etc.

3. List the top 3-5 problems you have solved for these clients.

4. List the top 3-5 problems you would like to solve for your clients.

5. Write down all of the goals and dreams you are truly passionate about helping clients address.

6. Look over your client testimonials and write down the key words and phrases that describe what your clients think you did best.

7. Describe what category of clients are most likely to have the problems you enjoy solving, goals you are passionate about addressing, and issues where you can do your best work.

8. Find out more about the typical problems and goals of the target markets that most interest you, by surfing the web, reading books and articles, or conducting interviews.

Once you have gone through the exercise above, you’ll see some common themes begin to emerge. This discovery process will help you to narrow down exactly who your best clients would be or who you most want them to be. You may also find what niche markets you don’t want to work with.

So don’t try to market to everyone. The key to success is to narrow your target to the clients you most want to serve.

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