If being your own boss is your career of choice, then you must have heard of niches. More importantly, that your most profitable niche is for small business success.
So why are so many consultants hesitant and at times, even resistant to having a narrow focus on their target audience?
I realize that logically, it may seem to defy common sense. I mean, you are targeting a narrow pool, doesn’t that mean you make less money? Well, actually no, it doesn’t.
I remember in the early years of my coaching and consulting business, I was not too keen on the idea of niche. It just seemed like there would be so many great clients I would miss out on…after all, I knew I could help them. But, even in doubt, I gave it a try and never looked back.
Let me show why focusing on your niche (specialized products/services to your target market) and becoming they “go-to” expert is worth the effort and you will have increased income to show for it.
1. Without a niche, you can spread yourself too thin
While you can certainly “help” everyone, there are not enough hours and days in your life to accommodate such a vast, diverse, client base. Consider instead how you can streamline your marketing, networking, social media activities to reach specific people when you always know their unique needs and wants.
Remember that as a consultant and solopreneur, you want to maximize the fruit of your efforts…you get more income by selling to people who want your services than casting a wide net to everybody.
Tip: Speak and write in a way that is appealing to your niche by knowing them and knowing them well. Find out their common business challenges, what solutions are important to them, what keeps them up at night, what magazines they read, where they travel…learn everything about them.
2. Without a niche, finding the right prospects and potential partners is hard
Picture this…it’s Thursday evening and you are ready to network, expand your connections and ideally schedule a few discovery sessions with potential clients. You have a choice of 3 networking events to attend – your alumni chapter is hosting a speaker, your local chamber of commerce is hosting its monthly showcase and you were invited to a business book launch party.
If you are being strategic in your networking activities, you want to maximize your time and efforts. So which event do you attend if your niche is not narrowly focused? See how it can get tricky at times?
Tip: When you have a specialized niche, it’s easier to know the key players, build the right relationships and become a familiar name and face at the right events.
I remember back in 2004, traveling from DC to Vegas on my own to attend a conference where I knew no-one. I ended up building relationships and alliances that benefitted me for years because all the key players were in one location.
3. Without a niche, raising your brand profile and promoting your expertise can be trying
Remember the theme song from the hit show, Cheers? “You want to go where everybody knows your name”
When people who you frequently interact with get to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘who you do it for’, it allows you to build your name and reputation as an expert and become well-known in your field. You win in two ways, people know who you are and you draw a following (more potential clients) and you hone your expertise (services/programs) by better serving a niche/target audience whom you know very well.
Tip: Spend some time building your niche and ideal client profile and translate their biggest challenges and obstacles into pain questions that you can use in your marketing messages.
For example, if I am trying to connect emotionally with an executive who is stuck in his/her professional growth (challenge/obstacle), you will notice that on my website, I refer to those challenges right up front like “Were you the #2 or #3 candidate AGAIN in the last interview for a highly coveted professional growth role?”
4. Without a niche, the timeline from prospect to paying client can be very long
As a solopreneur, you want your month to look like this. Lots of referrals, easy-to-do marketing strategies, spot on client-attraction results and the best part, repeat business. Imagine having all of that…well, it starts with having and embracing your most lucrative niche.
When you provide specific services, programs and products, your branding, marketing and positioning will attract the right prospects…and those prospects have at least 2-3 people they can refer to you. Every week, I am cget calls from ideal clients that get what I do, recognize the value and want to make the investment. In most cases, there is a yes after 1 or 2 conversations.
Tip: The prospecting goes both ways, it becomes easy for you to identify your right client and easy for the right client to see you as the best catalyst for his/her solution. Take my word, you want to be a big fish is small pond.
5. Without a niche, you are always reinventing the wheel
Follow this thought process with me. You write a few blogs to raise your profile, you transfer those blogs into a free e-book giveaway, you hold a teleseminar on the same blog topic, you create a strategy/coaching/consulting session for sale around same topic, you combine several topics into VIP days, you spread those topics over several months in long-term program.
Now, you don’t have to follow the above sequence, but my point here is that when you are working with the same audience, you get to upgrade, enhance, reuse, recycle and revitalize the same topics of your expertise. Why? Because you know the audience well and you can anticipate their challenges/obstacles and know what they need every step of the way.
Tip: To continually expand your income, you can offer additional services, products and programs as your niche market’s needs grow. What your client needs from you in the first year should differ from what they need in the fifth year.
What are 2 new offerings you can create for your existing client base that doesn’t diminish your expertise or confuse your brand reputation?
Having a niche works, there’s a 6-figure business waiting to be born through you…why not try it?