We’ve all heard the calls ‘you need a niche,’ ‘you can’t serve everybody,’ ’in trying to serve everybody you end up serving nobody,’.
I need not wax lyrical about needing focus in your business and marketing.
You already know you need clarity and focus. You hear it everywhere.
The trouble is how the heck do you get it?
We can’t pluck a niche out of thin air, or choose a target audience at random.
I will share a process I use with my clients for getting clarity on what drives you as a human being and direction for what your niche should be.
Three simple questions will change your whole approach.
The problem lies with holes in people’s understanding of marketing and the universe.
In the universe, we don’t choose our life partner. We don’t decide how our parents treat us.
We interact with the world from the moment we are born.
Life is interaction.
We have experiences, good and bad, that shape us as human beings. Our lives are a catalogue of experiences, of moments.
We interact with those around us.
The universe is more significant than us. We are but a speck, a drop in the ocean.
What does this mean for the entrepreneur trying to figure out how to ‘choose’ a niche?
There is more at play than a mere choice.
Just as when we ‘choose’ our life partner.
Other factors are at play. There is an interaction.
What do I like? What do they want? Are we compatible?
Rather than choosing a niche out of thin air, you should first look to Product/market fit.
Seek to understand your (or your brand’s) interaction.
Finding your niche (your place in the universe) boils down to three simple questions.
1. What am I good at?
As an expert where do your professional skills lie?
As a human being, what excites you the most?
What lights you up inside when you talk about it?
What could you do that would cause you to jump out of bed every morning with a massive smile on your face?
What would put a spring in your step if you got to do it every day?
Don’t just choose a niche because you think you ought to.
Choose a niche for selfish reasons first.
Your skills and desires are the starting point for getting clarity on your niche.
2. Who would value that?
Match your skills, your genius, your desires to the group of people who would value that the most.
Who would benefit from the things you are fantastic at? An organisation, an individual, a group?
Can you see how this is beginning the process of giving you direction? Direction for the general area you should focus on. We can get specific later.
The last thing we want to do is flog ourselves and spend energy with folk who don’t get what we are all about.
Folk who don’t appreciate or value what we bring to the table.
I’ve spoken with more entrepreneurs than I can remember that are beat down by giving the world to clients who don’t ‘get them’.
Like banging your head against a brick wall!
It’s pointless. The wall will win.
Clients who don’t value what you do are a terrible fit. Avoid them at all costs.
Once you have a handle on the folk that would value what you love to do, ask yourself the next question.
3. What problems can I solve?
Here is where the magic happens.
At the intersection of your unique talents and desires and the folk who would value and enjoy what you do.
What problems can you solve for these people?
Nobody buys products or services. They buy outcomes. They buy solutions to problems.
What you do is of secondary importance here.
The transformation or outcome you bring to your clients matters most.
What difference can you make?
Take a large piece of blank paper and draw two big overlapping circles.
In the circle on the left write the first question what am I good at?
In the circle on the right write the second question who would value that?
Write the third question in the middle where the circles overlap, what problems can I solve?
Side note – Yes you can write three headings in Evernote or Google Docs or whatever but trust me there is something about going analogue here that aids the creative process. I would encourage you to do it on paper. I promise you will get more out of the process. If you insist on digital, then download my Google Docs Worksheet.
Fill it in. Take your time with it. Make it your own. Revisit it. Enjoy the process.
Then you will be on your way to clarity and find a target audience you love to serve.
Once you’ve completed this move on to validating the audience, read this article What it Means to Niche Down [and How to do it].
Your ‘niche’ is the problems you solve for your target audience, it is NOT the audience.
Your niche is the transformation or outcomes you deliver. The change you want to make in people’s lives, to the world around you.
How you decide to change the world is up to you, and what an exciting choice it is.