One of the biggest failings I have seen in many businesses over my time as an on-line small business owner is a failure to seize upon a viable niche for their industry.
It’s a mistake we all make, myself included, when we set out to serve our customers. We all want to offer them the widest possible range of services, in a bid to make sure that we provide as many ways of generating revenue as we can.
The problem is, the wider we stretch ourselves, the less credibility we actually come across as having for those who use our services.
Potential Customers Are Scared
I have a friend who has accrued so many qualifications in her life that she comes across as being frankly unbelievable on her CV. She is a life coach, hypnotist, business coach, writer, ex-teacher, musician and singer, artist, counsellor, NLP practitioner, author, poet, project manager, journalist…the list goes on.
The problem is, all of these qualifications merely make her seem daunting to potential new customers who come to her business, to the extent that she actually omits many of these qualifications from her biography so she doesn’t deter potential new customers from taking her on.
Our products work in a similar way.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’, right?
It means that the more we dilute out capabilities, the less credibility each one has when we try and sell our services to potential new customers. People would always rather hire someone who is an absolute expert in their field than entrust their businesses or life needs to someone who is a bit handy at everything.
Because of this, we need to make sure that we set ourselves apart from the competition by truly excelling at what we do, instead of trying to please as many people as possible through random provision of services.
Narrow It Down
A few weeks ago, I had a meeting with one of my clients and we discussed the products she wanted to offer to her customers. She had come up with a plan for providing a time management course.
I was a little surprised.
Time management for whom?
The world and his wife?
We discussed the subject further and I steered her towards narrowing her niche down to cater for an area which she understood more about – time management for small business owners, working from home.
If my client tried to publish a guide on time management for everyone from Army Officers right through to Florists, she was heading for product failure.
The trick was to understand her niche, play to her strengths, and develop a product which was targeted, specific and useful for one small demographic of the overall population.
As more and more people seek to make a living online, our competition grows increasingly more fierce and challenging. In any industry, there will always be at least ten other companies vying to gain a foothold in their chosen niche.
It is no longer enough to offer generic services to our customers – we need to tailor what we do to make sure that we offer products and services which are exactly suited to meeting a specific area of our industry.
What’s your experience of narrowing your niche? Please share your views in the comments below.
P.S. Thank you Julie for allowing me to write this blog post based upon our discussion.
Within any niche I try to get to the sweet spots and tackle that..this is the only way to get the most money.
“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”
I’ve had this same frustrating conversation several times with one of my clients. Its frustrating because they offer so many services in the printing field that they can’t pick a client type to cater to so I can’t even help them with content creation. I don’t know exactly “who” i’m writing for. I must have at least 8 half written blog posts. This is an excellent post and I plan to email him the link. Thanks.
Possibly one way forward is to ask the clilents customers / visitors, what they would like to read/see.
Dear Andrew –
Guilty as charged.
But I love writing about different subjects.
I’ll have to think about this one.
It’s a hard one but narrowing your niche can pay off.
I am really guilty of this as of times I thought that this niche wasn’t for me. I started exploring and found other options. However, you need to stick with your niche and beat out your competitors. Thanks for the informative post my friend.
I am guilty of working on too broad of a niche. With that being said I do find it easier to work, write, create videos, etc. when dealing with a narrower niche. It helps me to focus more and work harder to develop content.
I have recently narrowed my niche on my main blog. This has really allowed me to focus on this one area and provide the best content possible to my readers. I also conducted a survey with my readers to help me focus even more on their needs.
Conducting a survey is a great way to go. You can then start providing content on exactly what they want.
Great post! I think some people like to cover all their areas in order not to miss out on a potential area of income. However, in mentioning all of them, it actually confuses clients that are not up to speed with some of the services. It is too overwhelming.
I totally agree with Ana. While it my work for some people to cover a broader niche, for most it would be far more profitable to target a smaller one and zoom into it.
Inside virtually any area of interest I attempt to get at the particular nice places and also tackle that..this is the sole method to find the the majority of money.
Yes narrowing is the way to go. Customers know what your expertise is and will see a better fit.
One of the things you don’t mention much about is that you can focus your content on the specific segments you target. Anna is right, you have to be sure your segment is big enough to make it valuable. But capture one segment and expand is a much better way then target everything and then try to make a living.
Great appraoch and thanks for sharing.
I agree the segment has to be big enough to write something 3 times a week for the next 5 years!
If you’t the segment is too small.
Keeping things relatively simple will allow you to concentrate on the things you do very well. Rather than trying to be a generalist, you dominate in specific areas of expertise. You can also focus on a local market and dominate that as well.
There is a company that produces mattresses in my town. From all the supplies that they needed, they had to import only one tiny little bit – it’s a sort of small metal grid that gets placed into the side of the mattress so that the air can come out when you sit on it. It enables the air flow.
My friend owns a hardware shop and he was brave and smart enough to get the sample of that little grid, buy the necessary tools and start making ONLY that particular little grid for mattresses. It’s a win-win situation. He is now their only supplier and he gets more inquiries from other companies as well.
You are absolutely right. People are always failing in niche finding. I think the use of keyword research can discover most popular and low competition niches.