Friday, December 12, 2008

What's Your Niche?

By Stephanie Ward

Here is a question I want you to answer right now. Ready, who are the specific group of people your business serves and what main solution does your business offer them?

How did you do? Was your response immediate and clear? If you're struggling to answer these two questions don't panic. I'm going to give you the information you need to get started but first, why should you even bother having a niche.

Here's why you need a niche. You will attract clients faster with less effort. You will position yourself as an expert. You will make it easier for other people to give you referrals. You will feel extremely confident. Now who doesn't want all of that?

There are two parts of your business you can niche. One is 'your people' the other is 'their problem/your solution.' Niching both parts is the most effective but niching one is better than none.

And the more specific your niche is, the more your business will be seen as the one and only solution for your clients.

First we'll look at your people, then your solution, and finally how to put it all together. You don't have to start with your people. You can start with defining your solution or you can work on both at the same time.

So, who are your people? They can be any combination of the attributes below (this is not an exhaustive list, just to get you started). Grab a piece of paper and write down all of the descriptions that apply to your people.

YOUR PEOPLE

- Gender: Male, Female, or Both

- Age Group: Teenagers, Recent University Graduates, People in their 30's, Mid-Lifers, Retirees

- Life Situation: Divorced, Married, Single, Retired, Recently Relocated, Dealing with Illness

- Location: City, State, Country Specific, Worldwide

- Affiliation: MBA graduate, Member of Professional Organization or Association, Church Member, Speaker of a Particular Language, Specific Nationality

- Interests/Hobbies: Travel, Animals, Running, Cooking, Drawing, Writing, Photography

- Educational Background: Undergraduate University Degree, Masters Degree, PhD

- Industry: Banking, Medical, IT, Oil & Gas, Professional Services, Consulting

- Position: CEO, Project Manager, HR Professional, Small Business Owner, Accountant

Here are a couple of examples:

* Female small business owners who work from home and have kids

* Retiring male bank executives who live in New York and love to travel

It is important that the niche of people you choose fit three critical criteria.

1. There are enough of them to sustain your business

2. You can easily locate and reach them

3. They are willing, and able, to invest in your products and services

OK, now you know who your people are. So what does your business do for them?

THEIR PROBLEM, YOUR SOLUTION

Most problems are directly tied to some general wants/needs: to save money, make more money, save time, reduce stress, feel more healthy, attractive, and happy. Here are some possible problems that your people may have.

> Need more clients (want to make more money)

> No time or energy to exercise (want to feel better)

> Managing a team that is not getting along (want to save money & reduce stress)

> Not enough time to get everything done (want to make money & reduce stress)

> Stuck in a style rut and need a new look (want to feel more attractive)

> Can't find the right romantic relationship (want to be happier)

> Don't know where to invest their money (want to make more money)

Now put the two parts together, your people and the problem they have that your business solves. Here are two examples:

1. Female small business owners who work from home and have kids who don't have enough time to get everything done. You help them by offering your services of virtual assistance which are tailored for busy working moms.

2. Retiring male bank executives who live in New York and love to travel but can't find the right romantic relationship. You help them by offering them your matchmaking services that are designed just for them and the kind of partners they are looking for.

Are you starting to see why niching works? Make the decision today to commit to creating a super defined niche for your business and experience the many benefits.

© Stephanie Ward, 2008

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Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to set their profits on fire! Grab your FREE copy of the special report '7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time' plus monthly business building tips, at: http://www.fireflycoaching.com

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