Does Your Niche Measure Up?

by Barbara Saunders

Take this quick quiz to evaluate your niche

Your ‘Niche’ is the pool of targeted clients that you choose to do business with. A clearly defined niche can make your marketing a piece of cake, but only if they measure up.

Just wanting to work with a group of people because you think they need your help is not enough. Running a business MUST be focused on generating income.

I’ve created a quick Niche Quiz to help you measure your niche to see if you still need some fine tuning. Here’s a tip: Work on ONE niche at a time. Don’t get scattered with multiple niches, especially when you’re struggling with getting clients. Only explore additional niches when the one you’ve got is humming along generating income for you.

After you’ve taken the quiz and know how to fine tune your niche, I’ll give you a few tips on how to maximize your work with them and I’ll give you a few tips on where to find MORE of them…

Niche Quiz

1. Does your niche have a shared area of need that they regularly invest in for help?

Do a quick Google search on the keyword that describes your chosen niche (example: small alternative health care clients). If there are less than 10,000 results from your search, that niche may be too small. When you talk with them, do they indicate that they actually invest in the sorts of services that you provide? If not, move to another niche. For example, if they know they need a website, but are set on trying to do it all themselves – no matter how badly it reflects on their business, and they don’t have a clue how important branding and positioning is – they’re going to drain too much of your time trying to educate them.

2. Does your niche have a history of being able to pay for your services?

If the people you’re targeting for clients do not have a history of investing in their business – it’s not worth the time for you. This becomes a ‘CEO Mindset’ issue for many Solo Pros. We may desperately want to help people, but you MUST separate your charitable efforts from your business. Remember that you’re in business to earn a living. By focusing on a target market that is willing and able to pay you what you’re worth – with the least possible effort in converting them from prospect to client – you then will have the time and resources to help the people who cannot pay through strategic – limited – volunteer work.

3. Does your niche know they have a problem?

This might sound obvious, but it’s a key element that’s overlooked often by many Solo Pros. It may be crystal clear to us why these people need an optimized website and a marketing plan, but they may have been stumbling along for quite a while with an old template-based website and putting flyers on cars for years. They just don’t see any reason to change. This type of mindset is going to take a LOT of effort on your part to change. Switch now to a niche that is hungry for your help. Tip: here’s a quick test to tell if this is your niche’s problem: Ask them, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it for you to solve this problem?” If it’s not a 6 or above, move on. They’re not in enough pain yet to invest in your services.

Maximize Your Work Within Your Niche

Here are a few tips to make your services easy to invest in. Tip: The confused mind ALWAYS says ‘NO”, so make your offers as clear and modular as possible. Here’s how:

    * Package specific features for a specific time
    * Always lead your communication with the result
    * Create a ‘juicy’ name – make it appealing, benefit/result based
    * Create step-by-step systems or modules that you can clearly lead your clients through

Where to Find Your Niche

Here are a few overlooked places where your potential clients may be hiding:

    * Your past clients – they might not know of your new services
    * Friends and family – The Department of Labor published a report recently stating that more than 82% of people laid off have started working for themselves – odds are you’re already connected to people who need your help
    * People at your networking groups
    * Your social groups – get comfortable talking about what you do (not your job title, but the results you provide for who) while you’re taking a breather at your square dancing group
    * Social media – FaceBook, Linked In, and Twitter are some of the best ways to find clients.

    You’re welcome to use this article, I just ask that you be sure to keep the author’s info with it and please link to our website.

Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. It’s our mission to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools, and strategies. Our goal is to liberate our members from the feast and famine cycle.

4 comments

Zsa Zsa said...

Great article. Really appreciate the part about where to find your niche. Many of us overlook this part, thanks!

Dianne Humphries said...

Deborah,

I think this is the hardest thing anyone has to deal with in getting established: choosing a niche. People struggle and struggle over trying to decide what they would like to focus on.

Also, the article does point out the fact that you do NOT want to provide charity. You have to remember that you are in this to make money. Just a matter of fact.

Thanks for sharing this great article with your readers.

Deb Bailey said...

Hi ZsaZsa,

You're right, many people overlook the need for a niche. I think that's why a lot of business owners get overwhelmed. Thanks for your comments!

Deb Bailey said...

Hi Dianne,

When I started out I had no idea about having a niche. For some reason it's not something that business owners consider when starting out. It can also be difficult for established business owners who want to make changes to their products and services. Glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for your comments!

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