As an entrepreneur, freedom of choice can be a blessing…and a curse. This is especially true for business owners who are just getting started and trying to find their niche. There are millions of articles, books, and courses on the subject, and the amount of information can be overwhelming. My first business was a bicycle magazine, and after four months of hard work without any real success, I felt like my business had a flat tire. It’s because I hadn’t clearly defined my niche.
Building a business requires a balance of supply and demand, and finding the point in between where you and your customers can flourish. Think of your niche as a bridge between you and the people you want to help. Contrary to popular belief, choosing a niche doesn’t have to be a timesink on the way to success. It’s as simple as understanding yourself, your audience, and the bridge that connects you.
You Are An EXPERT
When searching for a niche, you’ll want to find an area of your expertise that you and others are interested in. If you’ve spent enough time on this earth to be reading this article, you are a subject matter expert on at least a few things! Your average IT support professional doesn’t know everything about computers, but they know at just enough to fix your computer (hopefully)! You are looking for a product, service, or information that you can offer to others.
● What are some ways that you love to help others?
● What are some of your hobbies, interests, dreams, and past experiences?
● What can you talk about until your friends have a glazed over look in their eyes?
● What are your known for, and what do your friends and family think you’re great at?
This exercise can be eye opening and fun! Take a few moments to write out and answer some of these questions. And don’t doubt yourself or your ideas. You may end up surprised by a pretty long list – and that’s okay! We’ll work out the logistics and viability of your ideas up next, to make sure there is an audience and demand for your niche! For now, be selfish. This one time. You’ve earned it.
Somebody Out There Needs Your Help
Once you have a list of great ideas and subject areas, you’ll want to make sure that there is an audience with paying demand for your expertise! Remember, you don’t have to know everything – you just have to be able to provide a product or service that offers value to your audience. Take some time and think about who could use your expertise. If you’re starting a blog, will there be interested readers? If you’re starting a dog-walking business, are there enough owners in your area that need your help? If you want to start copywriting, are there businesses that need articles and content?
Next, you’ll want to qualify your audience. Are they ready and able to pay for a product or service that you will offer? This is key. Working with a large audience that is unable or unwilling to pay for your value can be time consuming and disheartening. A small audience – even a paying one – can mean financial struggle for you and your business. Run each of your ideas through this process, and you should end up with a product or service that you enjoy supplying to an eager, willing to pay audience.
Putting the Pieces Together
You have your niche, and it’s time to put it into action. The next step is positioning your business for success. If you are the best tattoo artist in the world, and nobody knows that you do tattoos, your studio is not going to succeed. Think about the value that you offer your audience. Is it peace of mind? Financial security? More free time? Self expression? What would cause someone to seek out the products or services you offer? What are their pain points and burning desires? Why would they choose you over your competitors?
When you combine yourself, your audience, and the value you offer, you can easily define your business. Here are a few examples:
● “I design websites for entrepreneurs to help with brand awareness.”
● “I offer pet lodging to give their owners peace of mind while traveling.”
● “I sell a course on yoga for people who want to try it at home.”
● “I do _______________ for ________________ to help them ____________”
If you can complete that last sentence, congratulations! You’ve found your niche! You have your audience, you know what they want, and you know what you offer them. Instead of hoping your business will succeed after months (or years) of effort, you can focus on the most direct path to success. No matter where your individual skills, talents, or experiences lead, clear purpose and direction will serve you – and your business – extraordinarily well.