Having a unique niche is crucial if you want your business to succeed. However, nailing your niche is a challenging task that won't happen overnight. And before you find your niche, you have to know what a niche is.
What is a niche?
A niche is essentially a small focused subset of a broader market that your business can solve problems for. Finding a unique niche can differentiate your business from the competition and establish a loyal audience.
Often, this subset target audience feels under-served and can't find adequate solutions to their problems.
Here are a few examples of going from a broader market to a more refined niche:
- Health >> Weight loss >> Weight loss for men >> Weight loss for men over 50
- Making money >> Making money online >> Ecommerce >> Building ecommerce sites for craft makers
- Gardening >> Urban gardening >> Growing your own food >> Growing vegetables on your balcony
So, finding a niche is about identifying and solving specific problems for a specific audience.
Focus, focus, focus
You can't solve all of the problems in your industry; if you try to, you'll sound too generic and find it difficult to attract the right clients. So it's important to focus on solving only one or two problems first for one or two types of audience.
And here's why you shouldn't try to solve all of the problems in your industry...
Each problem you solve requires tailored marketing and the right kind of marketing message. This means that if you set out to solve too many problems for your audience (in other words, if your niche is too broad) you'll end up sending out a mixture of marketing messages that may confuse your target audience.
If, on the other hand, you solve just one problem for one type of audience, you can deliver a super focused marketing message that will attract the attention of those who need your solution and your expertise. You can also create an efficient and effective marketing approach without draining your resources.
Is your niche profitable?
Unless you're treating your business like an expensive hobby, you need to find out if a niche is profitable before you decide to focus on it.
Here are a few criteria to help you figure out if a niche is profitable:
Are other people selling successfully in that space?
You may think that it's better to find a completely new niche where you have no competition so you can dominate the market. The reality is that when there's no competition in a niche, it's usually because there's no money to be made. It's a good thing if you can see other people selling successfully in a niche. It means that it is profitable and full of opportunities to refine, re-invent, and collaborate with others in the same field.
Don't be afraid of "saturated markets"
Remember, there's opportunity even in the most saturated markets.
Think about it, there are hundreds of so-called "saturated markets" out there. Shoes, clothing, cars, makeup, hair products, fragrances, kitchenware, watches, jewellery, pens, notebooks, headphones, restaurants, hotels, etc etc. But it doesn't stop businesses coming up with innovative ideas that create new demands.
Do you have products and services you can sell in that space?
For your business to succeed, you need to be able to sell products and services successfully. So, can you think of 1 - 3 things you can sell in your niche?
Don't worry if you find this daunting. You can start by selling something small such as ebooks, mini courses, short coaching programs, etc. You will naturally come up with more ideas as your business evolves and as you gain experience.
Look for longevity
Avoid backing yourself into a wall when choosing a niche. Avoid trends and fads that are likely to fade in the short term. Look for a niche that has potential for you to pivot or expand further in the future.
Be prepared to tweak and refine.
Finding your niche takes time and patience. Sometimes you have to wait for a unique niche to reveal itself to you as your business evolves. In my experience, most people end up with a niche that's very different from the one they started with, which is not surprising if you consider the following:
- Your experience in your industry will refine your niche over time.
- Customer feedback and market experiences bring you valuable information about what your market wants, likes and needs.
- Business opportunities appear from gaps in the market you were previously unaware of.
- The market changes and you have to adapt.
- You evolve as a person over time and the niche you started with may no longer feel right.
While you may want to stick with a niche for the long haul, it's unwise to continue serving the niche if it's no longer profitable or enjoyable. You should adjust your niche to attract profitable opportunities that light you up. It's your business after all.
You have to start somewhere but you don't have to stay where you started.
Make sure you schedule time to review your niche regularly. It's a strategy that will protect your business from any personal or market changes and stagnancy.
If you're struggling to commit to a niche right now, or are feeling overwhelmed, remember that whatever niche you pick, you don't have to stick with it forever. Be diligent about your niche, have the patience to allow it to reveal itself and eventually you will find one that makes you say, "This is it!".
So if you've been feeling stuck on finding a "perfect" niche, give yourself permission to go ahead and pick a niche now. The important thing is to get started and allow it time to evolve.