If you’re starting a small business, you know that the marketplace is as competitive as ever. A wise strategy to stand out is to serve a niche. “Niching down” means focusing your business on one market to solve a problem they face.
Casting a wide net may seem like a way to find more opportunity, but it may prove the opposite. You can try to serve everyone but end up not helping anyone. As a freelancer, you want to tailor your services so that potential clients say, “this service was made for me!”
A niche is a space where a business or individual specializes in. It is specific, unique, and usually has its community. It is your little cut out of the industry or market that you choose. For example, exercise is incredibly broad and unspecific. But what if you laser-focused down to serving women bodybuilders? That gives you a unique value the community can respond to and feel heard.
Another example, let’s say you want to focus on online gaming. This category is fairly broad. After researching, you may find a gap in the market for educational games for preteen girls. You can even niche down further to a specific kind of educational game.
Maybe you pull on the trend of encouraging more women to the STEM field. Right there, you have created a foundation for a business. You have an idea of what kind of value you want to offer and who for. The more you focus, the better defined your business is.
Why Should You Have a Niche?
A niche allows you to be the business that is solving a problem that others are not solving or are not solving well. You will be able to focus on that area and that industry to become the expert. People will pay for the expertise and value that is meant for them.
What Passions and Skills Do You Have or Could Attain?
“Passion” might be a word that excites you or makes you roll your eyes since it’s overused. Yet, you probably started your couch-based business to find work that is so exciting that it gets you out of bed in the morning.
Here’s a helpful way to figure out what passion to pursue. Narrow down your passions to a small list of five to ten things, and then do your research. Where can you carve your niche out or provide the most value? Don’t think so much about your limitations- you can learn new skills or tools if you need to.
You want to think about what you are good at or would be exciting enough to go all-in with learning about. What are the courses you excelled in during school? Are you a secret wine fanatic and could use that knowledge to consult with wine shops? As a freelance writer, could you use that degree in finance to specialize as a financial writer?
Needs and Target Audience
While you are researching your list of passions, you need to research the market. Is there a demand for your skills, knowledge, and services? You want to ask the question, how does my service solve a problem for a client or provide value? If there is no demand, there is no business. You want to find a niche where people ask for the service but are not served well.
When you know who to serve, you know your community. These days, demographics are helpful, but it’s not where your research ends. Target market research is so refined now that it makes niching down make even more sense. You may be serving Generation X, but what if you’re serving Generation X pet owners? Picking a niche means choosing a community you are devoting your business to.
When you have this target, you’re marketing becomes much more manageable. (This is exactly why I spend a lot of time researching your target niche in my branding guide). If you speak to Generation X pet owners, you know their interests, trends, and humor. You know what imagery and language appeal to them. You know what they care about and what they don’t care about. This knowledge tailors your services and market.
Did I Mention The Pay?
Setting prices for your work and services can be the most challenging part of running a business. When are offers broad appeal services, you often can charge broadly accessible prices. Niching down means your value is much more unique and premium. You raise your value, and so you should feel more confident in raising prices.
Niching Down Means Simplifying
Like focusing a camera, the more focused the niche, the more precise the image, you can envision what you need to provide, how to offer it, and price it. Focus is the key to your success. Expertise is always in high demand, and people will pay you for it.