Find Your Playing Field
Do or do not, there is no try.
Energy is the essence of life. Everyday you choose how you are going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus. Ever find yourself wasting a lot of time and money without achieving great results. Did you start your business so excited that you ran on pure adrenaline? Were you ready to conquer the world and targeted everyone?
Imagine it is one year from today. The last twelve months have been absolutely amazing. With hindsight, you realize how much time was wasted by not taking the time to find where your strengths and weakness were.
Most business owners experience significant advantages in focusing their marketing efforts towards a particular set of clients. The truly exceptional business owners are the ones who take a strategy with which they are comfortable and really know inside and out. They implement these strategies and then make them systematic. Outrageous business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders know that by creating systems, they create more time to learn about themselves and new strategies, evolve themselves, and create better systems.
No business can possibly expect to be all things to all people, and any that try will likely find business dwindling due to others who specialize to better meet the needs of that customer segment. Each segment has its own set of common characteristics and unique needs and preferences. The rationale for choosing your playing field is that if you focus on a particular group who understands and values your expertise, product, or service, you can become well recognized as a big fish in a small pond. And, because you know their particular challenges, the solutions they are looking for, the lingo, and habits of your target niche, you can focus your marketing efforts and achieve better returns for a given marketing effort. Ultimately, when you become established in a niche, more clients will come to you.
Here is an example. You have twenty years of experience working in and with a particular business. You know the challenges that these business owners face. You know how to recognize the strengths and weaknesses. You know what associations or trade fairs they go to. You know the periodicals they read. You talk their language. Through this, you know how to package and price your services so that they are seen as an attractive solution to others’ most common problems. You appear a much better choice to members of that niche than another who does not have the same depth of experience.
I suspect your have heard all of this before; however, the benefits of finding a good niche are well documented in all of the literature. One client had this to say. I believe that what I offer is sufficiently differentiated from my competition, that I am in a way creating a monopoly in my niche. Therefore, I do not compete against other consultants and therefore need not compete on price.
The key question for most is how do I find my own niche?
The key to finding a fabulous niche is to identify where your passions and strengths lie. This allows you to package a solution to your targeted market’s biggest unmet need or problem!
In other words, a niche market is composed of individuals, groups, and businesses that have unmet needs. You can easily target and reach these needs with your solutions. Finding your niche means finding a great product or service for a highly targeted audience.
Here are six straightforward steps to finding your niche:
1. Identify the top 5 niche possibilities. Examples: where’s your passion, working with women, business owners, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home moms, executives, hobbyists, cancer patients, healing, plumbing, manufacturing, etc.
(Use U S Federal Classified Business SIC Codes [www.google.com search])
Make a list of those possibilities.
2. Create a chart listing each of these possibilities and rate them through the eyes of your passion and strengths. Example:
Ø Does this niche make you feel more alive?
Ø Does it align with your values?
Ø What about your interests?
Ø How will this niche allow you to impact or provide meaning to your business? Does it fit your personality?
Ø How does this niche fit your natural attributes, strengths, gifts, training, education, or experience?
Ø Is this niche big enough for you? Can it support your business for years to come? Can prospective clients afford you?
(U.S. Census Bureau [http://quickfacts.census.gov] to research customer demographics)
Ø How does this niche align with your consciousness or spiritual alignment?
3. Define what needs or problems you can solve. Take this exercise seriously. What is it that you do and what problems does it solve? Make a list. Once you have this list, you will identify how to best package yourself, your services, or your products as a solution to the niche’s greatest unmet needs. Look over your resume or previous clients’ comments. Describe each one and make a note of any common threads. Make a list here and add to it as you think of them. Rate each from 1–10.
4. Define your niche. Look with the eyes of a researcher.
Ø Interview your prospects to better identify their greatest needs. Use Trade Directories and publications, business yellow pages, Reader’s Guide to Periodicals and Literature, or the Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters.
Ø Determine how best to communicate with them; in person, through email, teleconference, workshop, demonstrations, articles, books, etc.
Ø Identify what your competition looks like.
Ø Decide how to position yourself as an expert to that niche.
Ø Plan how best to package yourself, your service, or product as a solution to the niche’s greatest unmet needs.
Ø Look for ways to stand out and be recognized as someone who adds great value
You can use Internet keyword searches such as: overture suggestion tool or word tracker to see how many people are searching each month by keywords related to your niche. According to overture (at the time of this writing) the keyword “niche” was searched 12,411 times and “marketing niche” 2,373 times.
Scan the news; open your eyes and you mind to opportunities. You’ll be amazed at how your brain kicks into the law of attraction or “selective perception”. Selective perception is what happens when you actively focus on anything; like when you’re thinking of buying a new car and begin to see everyone else driving the same car.
5. Test market your results. This is a step that most business owners and entrepreneurs miss. Create a package, program, sale, product, or service to try out your solution and gain testimonials and take the opportunity to learn more about your niche. It is better to test and learn, then to fall flat on your face. Think about it, sometimes you need to destroy something in order to create something new. Nature does it all the time; earthquakes, tornados, drought, all to create something new, given time.
6. Learn and polish your product or service.
Ø Seek every opportunity to speak, write, present, or share your knowledge with your target audience to increase your exposure and create your image as the expert solution provided to this niche.
Ø Let your local media know what you are doing.
Ø Consider creating a newsletter to provide useful information targeted to your niche.
Ø Join your niche’s associations or subscribe and contribute to their periodicals.
Ø Network at events frequented by prospective clients in your niche.
Ø Attend Trade Shows or display your product or service.
If you are just starting out, you may need to have a two-step approach. You may want to do a free introductory program, free clinic, or partial give-a-way, so prospects can get to know you. When they meet you and get a feel for your value, they’ll come back. Personally, I prefer to invest the time to develop a profile and good reputation with a group before I offer them any programs.
One way to practically eliminate your competition is to know what is important. You choose to focus on groups to whom you are attracted, who can afford you, with whom you have credibility, and who are open to experience the benefits of your product or service. It is important that your target niche appreciates your unique marketable attributes—those things that better qualify you and set you apart from other services, products, or businesses.
Have a question for Deborah? Ask or leave a comment below!