Define Your NicheWhenever there is enthusiasm, there is a creative
empowerment that goes far beyond what a mere person is capable of. –Eckhart Tolle

Startups rarely fail due to lack of ideas and enthusiasm, they fail because of lack of focus.  When in the early development or startup phase of your business, creativity is flowing, you are working hard, you have defined your target market industry.  Before channeling your marketing dollars into the wide range of social media and advertising platforms available, stop, take a moment, and ask yourself, “Who do I really want to work with?”  The answer should not be anyone or everyone, trying to be all things for all people.

How’s that work?  Let’s say you are at a networking event, ask someone this question, “Do you know anyone who….?”  They’ll probably say “no, I can’t think of anyone who….”  The reason?  Anyone is a too broad and generic description when you are seeking to be the “go to” person or specialist in an industry.  If you want someone to remember what you do, be specific.  You want people to remember your name within a specialized market niche.  Your prospects need to see themselves in your description.

Let me relate a specific example that recently occurred at a small women’s group meet up I was attending.  A friend of mine launched a business in the personal fitness/trainer business market, a very broad and competitive industry.  While she teaches fitness classes several times a week, her business is competing with scores of other fitness trainers and gyms in the local community.  She was not seeing the growth in her business that she had expected.

As we talked longer and dove deeper into the conversation, out popped the statement, “what I really am interested in is celiac and diabetic clients”, two medical issues she is passionate about.  I could see it in her eyes it was an “Ah Ha” moment.  By narrowing her focus to a specific niche in the fitness area, now when people ask do you know anyone that specializes in fitness for celiac or diabetic clients, the answer would be, “Oh yes, call <her name here>.  Further, she can target specific market areas like medical specialists or celiac or diabetic support groups.

Using the example of fitness, let’s see how we can break down a broad saturated market, like fitness, by asking targeted questions and narrowing your focus.  OK, you want to be a fitness trainer.  Do you want to work with clients for cardio? Endurance?  Strength?  “Well, I like working with clients improving their overall strength.”  Great!  Now, what clients?  Men?  Women?  Kids?  “Well, I like working with women and helping them improve their strength.”  That’s even better. Now we know you want to work with clients, who are women, and help them achieve their strength goals.  But wait.  What women?  All women? Senior women?  Teenage women? “No, I would really like to work with women who are post-natal and ready to get back into great physical shape.”  Now, we have our niche, we know where we need to channel our marketing dollars, what clients to seek out.

Narrow Your Focus

You know the saying “being a jack-of-all trades and master of none.”  People want to work with a specialist in a field, not a generalist.  It clears up the question of whom you market to and where your marketing budget should be targeted.  When you define your niche, you will get really, really, good at your specialty because you are spending your time solving and servicing problems in that area.

Does that mean you give up your other clients?  No!  It means you focus on and market that specific area and continue to maintain a variety of client services.   If you are in the early development or startup phase of business, and even if you have been in business for a while and perhaps business has stalled, ask yourself, “Who do I want to work with?”  By narrowing your focus, you will open up more opportunities to achieve success and be known as the “go to” person, the specialist, the name that comes up in the conversation, “Do you know anyone…..”

How did you narrow your business down to a specialized niche?  Did you find you were refining your business as you moved along in the development and start-up phase?  How long did it take to answer the question, “Who do I Want to Work With?”  Would love your comments!