When I first started my business I wanted to work with mums returning to work because it was what I knew, but, they weren’t the clients I was attracting. As my business grew I found that the people coming to me were women in leadership positions and/or business owners. Some were mums and some weren’t but they were all lost and confused. I was lost and confused. Then someone mentioned finding a business niche.
A niching analogy
I attended a marketing course to try and get some insights. It was run by Jamie Smart who gave a brilliant analogy that I would like to share with you. I think this analogy is useful not just for business owners but for anyone considering their career or building skills…this is the long game.
I want you to imagine that you have bought a new house. You got a great deal as it is really dilapidated. The question is, which room do you start doing up first? You can start in any room you like. Now you have two choices:
- Do a bit in each room simultaneously
- Finish one room before starting the next
Now it might seem tempting to do a bit in each room simultaneously. That way, you might have somewhere to sit and watch TV, a place to cook, a place to wash and to sleep. It might even work but I would argue that it would take longer overall….but we can talk about multitasking a different day.
By focusing on the most important room and getting it done you have a space to relax and can move on to the next one knowing that you don’t have to keep going back to the first room.
Using a niche to find direction
So your niche is like the room. You can keep a broad approach (like decorating each room simultaneously) or you can choose one area and focus on them. It doesn’t mean you can’t take clients outside your niche but it helps you focus. This focus allows you to target the ‘right’ people…Jamie described this beautifully in one sentence:
If I met you in a coffee shop queue how would you describe your ideal client to me so that I would be able to easily introduce you to someone else?
So I decided to look at my business niche again and saw that everyone was coming to me for career-related coaching, not just returning to work. I chose my broader niche as coaching women through a transition in their career. Whether that was making a change, stepping up into leadership or returning to work.
I broke it down into three different ‘elements in the room’ – business coaching, leadership coaching and women returners.
It doesn’t mean I can’t/won’t coach outside my niche of careers coaching for women but it means that it is my focus for now. It has given me direction.
Do you think niching is important as a business owner?