One surefire way of failing in business is to try to do everything for everyone, and for coaches, consultants, therapists, and other service professionals, the temptation is very string. After all, we have a toolset that is designed to solve problems - any problems - and to do it quickly and effectively.
The "problem" is, though, that no-one wakes up thinking "I have a problem, I must go and find someone to help me solve it!"
Instead they wake up thinking "One of my sales staff isn't hitting his numbers, how can I get them back on track?" or "I'm getting enquiries, but they're not going anywhere, what am I doing wrong?" or "My diet isn't working. How am I going to shift these extra pounds/kilos before the company annual dinner?" or any of a million different questions about their SPECIFIC problem.
And the only way they'll find you is if you present yourself as someone who has a SPECIFIC solution to that problem. In other words, if you are marketing yourself to a specific niche.
A very common misconception about niche marketing is that you can only have one.
That's not true at all. I wouldn't recommend you have more than 2 or 3, and I'd also suggest that they should be related in some way, but don't go overboard.
I was working with a new client recently who was struggling to get her business running. She "got" most of the concept of niching, but she was hiding being a generalist by having lots of niches. She had lots of niches, but the only relationship between them was that coaching was her "answer" to the problem. So there she was trying to build a niche in weight loss alongside a niche in presentation skills, alongside a niche in parenting, alongside... you get the picture.
We spoke about her business(es) for a while and suddenly the lights came on. "Oh my god," she said. "I'm trying to run 24 businesses! No wonder I'm going nuts!"
So limit the number of niches, and make them hang together. Take me as an example. I have niches helping coaches and NLPers to build their practice, accountants, consultants, therapists... all businesses where
- the client is asking for advice, opinions, clarity, etc. based on the practitioner's own skill, experience or understanding
- I'm coaching and teaching people in how to communicate better (with their client); and
- I have personal experience of working in that sector
The communication aspect then ties back to my NLP business, which is steadily niching down into persuasion and selling.
It all hangs together nicely. I can leverage my experience in each field to help the others. I can create products and services for one niche that fit the others either immediately (like my forthcoming "Presentation Wizardry" home study set) or with a little tweaking (like my Practice Momentum and Practice Explosion workshops).
If I suddenly added relationship coaching to the mix it wouldn't work. I'd be running a completely different business.
So what you have to understand is that you have to niche your marketing messages.
You can service multiple niches simultaneously, but your marketing message must match the niche.
For example, you could target accountants, estate agents, busy executives, new mums, "third agers", members of a particular community, families, ... (obviously, not all at the same time - as I've just said)
These are all good niches.
And they're all different.
So you need a compelling Unique Promise of Value and corresponding marketing message to for each niche. You can't be all things to all people.
That’s a recipe for business failure.
Niche marketing is the most powerfully productive marketing you can do.
AND the most powerful PRODUCTIVITY tool. Once you stop trying to run 24 businesses!