If you’re starting a business then one of the key things you’ll always be advised is ‘find your niche’. Alternatives to this include ‘describe your ideal customer’ and ‘design your customer avatar.’
Now, I’m not going to be contrary for being contrary’s sake. Finding your niche is brilliant advice and an essential part of running a successful business.
If you don’t know who you’re selling to and why, it doesn’t matter how excellent your product is, or whether you’ve honed the mind-blowing quality of your service. If you don’t have an ideal customer in mind, you may as well be vanilla because you’re trying to appeal to everyone. What does this mean? You’ll appeal to no-one.
However, I wanted to cut through all the well-meaning advice about niching and get do
wn to the grit of what you need to do. In summary, it’s this:
Decide who you’re selling to. Know what they need from you. Sell it to them.
One thing I have seen people struggle with in the past is panicking about having too narrow a niche. Niching can be scary; it feels as if you’re excluding paying customers when maybe you don’t feel as if you have any enough money coming in to turn away potential leads. However, niching is a vital part of business success. If you try to be everything to everyone, you will end up being the top of no-one’s list for what you’re selling. The result? Lower sales.
You need – nay, deserve – customers who rave about you. Raving customers mean sales, and sales beget sales. How many times have you bought something and then recommended it to a likeminded friend? However, no-one is going to rave about how great you are if you’re not targeting their sweet spot.
There are people running successful businesses who have proven that niching works, and I want to prove that no niche is too niche to make money.
My case study this week is a business called ‘Hey Shenee’, who you can find right here. Shenee is a brand strategist and copywriter for ‘woo bosses who want to make a big impact’. Her target market is yoga teachers, rieki masters and energy leaders among other ‘woo’ professionals who want to earn a living from what they do. She’s consciously chosen to offer branding and copywriting guidance to ‘woo bosses’ rather than a more generic category like ‘female entrepreneurs’ and her website and material brims with success from this decision. I mean, look how happy she looks, right?!
With that in mind, I’ve going to run through 5 quick-fire questions to narrow down your niche, using Hey Shenee as the example. Let’s go!
1.What do you enjoy putting out into the world?
When you start your own business, there can sometimes be a stampede to try to make money as quickly as possible. However, you’re not starting your own business to become trapped in a prison of your own making. You’re here to bring a positive force into the world, AND to enjoy doing it. So, before you launch headfirst into a new business – or if you’ve been trying something for a while but you feel as if it isn’t really going anywhere – take a step back and think about what you really enjoy doing. Then, think about whether your planned business holds enough of that to keep you happy.
If your planned business doesn’t include what makes you happy, stop now. Change course. It’s normal for a business to include some things you don’t enjoy doing, but at least 75% of your time should be spent on what you love.
Don’t cage yourself into a business you don’t love.
If you’re looking for inspiration, Hey Shenee is crystal clear about what she enjoys doing. She loves brand strategy and copywriting, and that’s exactly what she offers her clients. She communicates that passion on her website to make it abundantly clear this is what she’s offering. This means that anyone stumbling across her website via a Google search or social media will be left in doubt as to what she’s offering, and her passion to offer it.
2. Who do you care about helping and why?
A successful business isn’t only about offering a product or service in a way which you enjoy. It’s also about knowing who you are going to help with that product or service. After all, it’s no good having a juicy thing to sell if you don’t know who’s going to buy it.
I believe wholly that the best businesses are those which bring good into the world and help people as well as look to make money. I don’t believe that only charitable foundations can bring good into the world, as I believe businesses can also be positive forces. They can help people with their problems and offer them tools to overcome their problems.
With that in mind, think about who you care about helping and why? Don’t be afraid to go niche here. Hey Shenee explicitly states on her website that she’s here for woo bosses. She doesn’t try to appeal to lots of different groups of people; she knows who she wants to help, and clearly states how she will help them. Look at this here on here About page – she’s all about helping people and her passion seeps through.
She then uses her About page to explain why, by showing her doing dog yoga and explaining how she is a recent Yogi. This all helps show why she cares about her clients’ success.
Passion + Expertise = Win Win Win.
3. Why are you uniquely placed to help them?
Right, so by now you should be starting to niche your business. You’ve thought about what you love to do, and who you care about helping. Now it’s time to put the two together and think about why you are uniquely placed to do what you do. This means how only you can do what you do in the way that you do it. and why your customers will care.
The answer to this question will be unique to you as it will relate to your personal journey to where you are today. Why you care, where you gained your expertise. All these factors combined together mean your delivery is one of a kind. Shenee talks on her site about her personal journey, her love of woo bosses and how passionate she is about helping them succeed. She is absolutely honest about her frustration at an online world where sometimes it can seem only business coaches make money. She is uniquely placed to help woo bosses because she cares passionately about their success.
Think about why you are uniquely placed to do what you want to do – be kind to yourself about your skills and why you care, and sprinkle your About page and your Sales page with it.
4. How do they like to be helped?
Finding your niche isn’t just defining your customers in terms of what they do for a living; it’s also looking at their temperament. This is particularly the case for how you will deliver your product or service. Basically, it boils down to asking yourself how they like to be helped.
If you are a coach, this will mean asking questions like whether your ideal client will like courses, or group coaching programs, or e-books. Shenee has decided her ideal clients like 1:1 programs which give them clarity in a compressed timeframe, so she offers a one day brand refining retreat called ‘The Brand Fix’. This means she hasn’t gone down the course route which so many coaches seem to be going down at the moment. Instead, she’s stood fast and carved her own path with $5000 one day sessions.
She knows that her ideal client doesn’t want to wait for a longer-term coaching program. Instead, they want to make money and implement growth strategies quickly. So, she offers a one day course with actionable tips which they can go away and implement.
Sound interesting? You can check them it by clicking through to her site here.
The secret to success here is to give your customers what they actually want and need, not what you think they should want and need.
5. What problem are you solving for them?
The final question is the most fundamental as it links together the answers to all the previous questions. Strip back all the chatter around your business and focus on what exactly you are doing for your customers. Think about what problem you are trying to solve for them, and the solution to that problem is that you are selling.
Heading back to Hey Shenee as the example, the problem for woo bosses is feeling as if only business coaches can make money. They can be made to feel as if they are missing something if they are not supremely successful, and worrying they should be spending money on more courses and Facebook ads.
This all adds up to a ton of overwhelm and a lack of positive action, and Shenee’s content is the solution to that problem. She cuts through the overwhelm and focusses on what is important. She is very careful to explain that a successful business takes dedication, but she helps woo bosses target their action to bring them the results they want. The problem is overwhelm, and the solution she brings is crystal clear clarity.
Here’s to businesses that make waves.