Defining your niche market and establishing a clear picture of whom it is they are marketing to is critical in the overall health of your business. Defining your niche does not narrow your sales or cut into profit margins, rather, it helps define your client base.
Many business owners feel that by establishing your niche and learning to say ‘no’ is one of the worst things you can do. They fear that the work will stop coming in. However, in my short time as an entrepreneur, I have found the complete opposite to happen.
When I started saying ‘no’, better clients started coming in. I was free to spend the time that was required on the larger jobs to give them my full attention and in turn, do a better job. Yes, it was extremely hard to say ‘no’ – but it paid off almost immediately.
Open communication is also another important element to consider when working with a refined client base. When you start garnering a refined client base, client relations become the most important element. Keep these clients informed during the entire production process.
Quitting your day job is very similar to saying ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ to steady income is scary but inevitably leads to many more opportunities.
What is a Niche
Many people believe that a niche is something very specific; a task requiring specialization. However, this post is NOT going to focus on a specific task or skill, rather what the idea of a niche represents. The best way to develop a niche is not based on a specific task, rather a feeling. This niche should be attached to the brand you have created. The niche should be the experience you create for the client. By going this route, you will be able to build your brand around this experience rather than a specific style of production / task.
How to Find Your Niche
Finding your niche is probably the hardest part of the process. It is what will drive you and help you determine what work to take and what work to say ‘no’ to. The simplest answer is to find a passion and build a business around it. If you are unsure what it is, then there are a few things you can do that will help you find it.
- What is it that drives you?
- If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
- If you were dying, what knowledge do you have that you would like to share?
- Ask someone, what would you buy from me if i was smart enough to sell it to you?
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Who do you want to work with?
Unfortunately, if you do not know the answers to the questions above, the process will be a little more difficult for you as you will probably experience a few start and stops. Don’t be scared of this. Making mistakes is okay and they are actually a good thing. Not only do they show that you are human, these mistakes show that you are able to evolve as your skill-set / interests evolve. By also crafting your niche around the experience rather than the task, you will be able to evolve and maintain your current client base. Further to this, you will also be able to use this niche model you have created and apply to your new interests.
Another way to find you niche is by mind-mapping. A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. It is often created around a single word or text placed in the center to which associated ideas / words / concepts are added around it. Major categories / subcategories radiate from the central node and other ideas branch off of these categories. Mind maps are great for flushing out ideas and finding out how to best explains these main concepts.
When approaching mind maps, I recommend starting with the client experience. Determine what you value as a consumer and determine how you will provide these essential aspects into your own business.
Using both the answers to the questions above as well as the mind map, you should be able to pull out the similarities and craft a niche around this — even if just for a starting point.
How to Build Your Business
I am sure many things come to mind when thinking of ways to expand / refine your business, those being completely unrelated to the actual task. These ideas coming in the form of fear, uncertainty and apprehension. However, expanding / refining your business is key to it’s longevity.
It is extremely important that you do not become complacent. Try and create a road map for your business so you know where you want to be and how to get there. One of the first things I usually ask people is where they want to be in ten years. This is a great way to help people really think about what they hope to accomplish with their life. If they have an answer, they will then be able to create this road map. However, if they don’t know, this will truly make them rethink their path.
Getting Things Done (GTD Model)
There are a few key elements of the GTD model that will inevitably lead to your success.
Everyday I try do at least one thing that will get me closer to my goals using the GTD model. By finding out where your heart is and driving towards the desire to work for yourself, you should be able to get THAT much closer to your ultimate goals with your business.
Prioritizing is another important aspect of the GTD model. There are only so many hours in a day so determining how you are going to use them will help you understand what is important to you. This will also help you dictate what / how / and when you want to share your knowledge with others.
An extremely important factor when implementing this model is surrounding yourself with like minded individuals that are there to support you. There have been many times when I have been surrounded around either negative people or people saying what I was doing was not the way to do it. During these times, I became extremely demotivated and started to question the path I was taking. However, when I removed these people from my circle and instead worked with supportive people with similar goals, I was able to achieve my initial goals and was also able to realize that my dreams and business plan was possible.
Key Elements of a Successful Business
Like anything, the key to a successful business is based on hard work and dedication. There are also a few other elements to consider as well.
- Find ways to reduce costs & track progress.
- Work at developing policies and procedures.
- Develop / Improve / Maintain relationships.
- Develop milestones.
- Breakdown your value of time; Pain vs Price.
- Identify your audience and tap into the need for belonging using the ‘we / us’ voice.
Although just a starting block, the items are a great roadmap that I have created for myself that will help drive the direction of my business. If you have any questions about my approach or have other recommendations, feel free to comment below!