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Why is it so important to have a niche market?

Most solo business owners struggle with the idea of niche marketing. Here are the common reasons they struggle and 5 reasons why it is so important to get over it.
Written May 02, 2010, read 12078 times since then.
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Solo-business owners seem to have such a struggle around the whole idea of niche marketing.  Of all the concepts I teach my clients, this is the one that is the most challenging for people. In theory, people get it, but in practice, it tends to throw them into full on fear-based reaction.

What exactly is niche marketing and what does this term mean?

It’s about developing products or services that are directly fulfilling the needs and wants of a specific and narrow group.

Marketing experts say that the narrower the niche, the stronger your business will be, as long as you choose a niche that is accurate and reflects an authentic need.

I find that women, especially, have a resistance to this approach. Some of the deeper issues that emerge for people include:

•  Wanting to help everyone and not wanting to leave anyone out.

•  Thinking that by choosing to build their business on a narrow niche, they will make less money.

•  Wanting to focus on their service and products instead of smart business strategies.

•  Fear of their own empowerment and success.

•  Discomfort with making a lot of money.

Many of the issues above are actually thinking errors.  Thinking errors are viewpoints based on inaccurate factual data.

The idea that you will leave people out by focusing on a niche is actually incorrect and in fact it is the opposite. 

For example:

I know someone who offers fitness training for women age 50-80, who are either disabled or recovering from an accident or surgery. This is an excellent niche because woman in that category have special needs and want to work with someone they trust will understand their exact situation. They have many emotional concerns that accompany their desire for physical help, and they will be less likely to hire someone who seems like a generalist or works with everyone.  They don’t want to end up in a class with young fit people or men.

If this entrepreneur refused to name her specialty and her focus, not only would she not attract the specific women she wants to work with, but she would be unlikely to attract any other group as well. Men are looking for someone who specializes in men; young athletes are looking for someone who helps young people who are athletic and so on.  Without focusing on her niche and naming it, not only would she not attract her niche but she also wouldn’t attract anyone else. Her business would limp along rather than flourish.

Many new small business owners also sabotage their success by stubbornly refusing to focus.  There is a fear of success and it feels safer to stay small. Owning a small business is like taking a full time personal growth workshop. You have to keep peeling off the onionskins and look at the deeper issues that might be holding you back.

Niche marketing is essential because:

1. It is much more profitable to market to a narrower group. It is all about fully understanding the needs and wants of this group and then providing a multitude of products and services to offer value to them and keep them in your pipeline.

2. You will get way more referrals because people will know exactly what your specialty is and who to send to you.

3. Your clients will easily be able to tell their friends about you and refer people to work with you. It will make it easy for them to rave about you being a specialist.

4. You will have a much easier time establishing strategic partners as they will know exactly who to send your way. They will trust your expertise and also see you as the company to connect with around this niche group.

5. People will see you as the expert in your area. People would always prefer to work with an expert so you will more likely get asked to speak to groups, write articles and be a presenter at conferences or trade seminars in your area.

Last year I met a woman who built a multi-million dollar business developing t-shirts and tops for menopausal women. The fabric allowed perspiration to evaporate quickly so it was perfect for women who had night sweats and hot flashes.  She was a savvy entrepreneur. If she worried about focusing on a niche, she may have provided  a whole clothing line for all age women and men and watered down her message. Instead she stuck with this one product line and her business grew through the roof. Her customers loved that someone had created a business to specifically help them. They felt understood.

Many years ago I also faced all the above fears. I was afraid to name my niche. It was illogical based on all I knew, so I had to look deeper. My niche is solo-business owners who offer excellent services to help people, are highly skilled in their profession and also need to be an expert at running their business.  I was resistant for all the reasons above. I didn’t want to leave out retail, or people with employees, executives etc. It’s crazy because those people still call me, but when I finally named my niche, my business began to steadily grow.  Yours will too.

Learn more about the author, Kaya Singer.

Comment on this article

  • Digital Growth Strategist 
Lynnwood, Washington 
Maximus Kang
    Posted by Maximus Kang, Lynnwood, Washington | May 02, 2010

    Beautifully put Kaya! I think you nailed it on the head with the fact that niche marketing makes you look extremely tailored. Besides, who doesn't want somebody who offers EXACTLY the service you're looking for?

    Finding a niche is crucial in order for a small business to get found in the search engines. There is no way for a small mom & pop travel agency to outrank a monster like Expedia for the keyword "cheap flights". Well, not after the amount of SEO I did for them at least ;)

    But seriously, finding the niche markets within your industry is the only way to start taking market share and then expanding into a bigger niche.

    Baby steps right?

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 03, 2010

    Maximus- Thank you again for your excellent comments. Yes- the part you added is so true- about "looking extremely tailored." I love that.

    Thanks for sharing from your own niche about web optimization. That is another huge and important marketing essential in this day and age and I agree- without having a very focused niche, your web presence will be lost. Yes- baby steps :)

  • Marketing Consultant 
Nanuet, New York 
Julie Weishaar
    Posted by Julie Weishaar, Nanuet, New York | May 03, 2010

    Kaya - I love your candor. What is the name of the multi-million dollar business? Suggestion for her niche and product-line. Add the word "pre" to her niche and include layered clothing! :)

    I can assure you that I have no fear of making a lot of money! LOL But I do understand how it might not be easy to identify one's niche - even if not for reasons that include fear. I think sometimes people don't want to limit themselves as you suggest. As a matter of fact, my niche of small business owners, often have a very hard time honing in on exactly "who" they are and what their niche is.

    Niche marketing is like medical specialists. You wouldn't go to a dermatologist for knee surgery would you?

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 03, 2010

    Julie- I so appreciate your honesty- especially from someone in marketing. It is really hard to hone and focus on this but oh so important. I have many small business owners as clients who have been in business for many years and still don't have this figured out. It is one reason why their business will only get to a certain point. I love helping people do this piece because the change that happens is almost like magic.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Marketing Consultant 
Nanuet, New York 
Julie Weishaar
    Posted by Julie Weishaar, Nanuet, New York | May 03, 2010

    I actually find that this is the number one problem many small business owners have. Even those who have been successful for many years. They find themselves realizing that their current way of doing business needs to be updated which includes a re-vamping of their website which of course includes keywords and the necessity to know their target market/niche.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 03, 2010

    Here is the company I talked about who does the sleepwear for menopausal women. http://www.wildbleu.com

    I heard the owner speak at a business luncheon and I was very impressed! This is an excellent example of a strong niche.

  • Hypnotherapist/Intuitive 
Mukilteo, Washington 
Lisa Lamont
    Posted by Lisa Lamont, Mukilteo, Washington | May 03, 2010

    Hi Kaya, Another great article! I am just starting my business full time and I like that this article supports my idea of targeting "one" area. I'm taking a risk however calling my business, "Consulting" when my niche is hypnotherapy using a copyright technique for weight loss. I don't want to be known as just a hypnotherapist. I want to be a consultant to help women (target age 40-60 who raised their children and now want to do something for themselves)... to not only lose weight but to feel 'sexy' again. You should see the faces on these women when I ask them, when was the last time you felt sexy? The answer 99% of the time is, "It's been years".... That is my niche ; ) Thanks again! Lisa

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 03, 2010

    Lisa- Great comments! Thanks for sharing. Remember- your niche has to do with the people you market to - not the products and services you offer. Once you fully understand your narrow niche group you can then focus on a multitude of ways you can help them. So your niche is not hypnotherapy or consulting. It is women 40-60 whose children are grown up and they now want to feel sexy again. The more you focus on this group, the more accurately you will be able to describe who they are and their problem. This is the language that makes up your core marketing message. It's about them, not about you. Your business will grow fast once you keep them your focus and are able to develop all the ways ( products and services) you can help them. Let me know how it goes!

  • Brand Strategist & Graphic Designer 
Bothell, Washington 
Diane Bridgwater
    Posted by Diane Bridgwater, Bothell, Washington | May 03, 2010

    Excellent article Kaya. So true. As a graphic designer I can create many things for people but I am very clear that I don't do it all. I have surrounded myself with quality and professional people who I can refer out to but we just can't be great at all things. Having a clear understanding of who your target market is will help others refer quality and fantastic new customers to you because they know exactly what you do. Thanks for writing the article.

  • Author/Coach/Speaker 
Tacoma, Washington 
Beth Buelow
    Posted by Beth Buelow, Tacoma, Washington | May 03, 2010

    Kaya, I really appreciate your article! It's perfect affirmation for me. I have had a love/hate relationship with niche identification... I totally get that it's THE key to moving from ho-hum to HEEHAW! and my fear of picking the "wrong" one, of not being expert "enough," of closing doors to other opportunities, had paralyzed me for more than a year.

    Finally, I had a break-through this past week (an "overnight ah-ha!" that was anything but overnight!) and realized my coaching niche was right under my nose: introverts! Without being intentional about it, almost all the clients I've attracted so far have been introverts, coming with all of the wonderful complexity and awareness that they bring. Knowing how much embracing my own introvertedness changed my life, I am confident that I can support others in understanding, owning and leveraging this critical aspect of themselves.

    Next step: step fully into my niche and fasten my seatbelt for what is sure to be a fun and satisfying ride!!

    Thank you for reminding us all that we need to claim and trust our expertise; it's really the best gift we can give the world!

  • Internet entrepreneur 
Asheville, North Carolina 
Suzanne Arthur
    Posted by Suzanne Arthur, Asheville, North Carolina | May 03, 2010

    "Owning a small business is like taking a full time personal growth workshop. You have to keep peeling off the onionskins and look at the deeper issues that might be holding you back."

    This really made me laugh -- you hit a hard truth right on the head!

    When I started in business, I definitely wanted to be more inclusive (as you say, afraid to leave anyone out). Luckily, I had some very keen business coaching along the way and my niche market grew to become the solid foundation of a stream of online businesses.

    Many thanks for the excellent, practical reminders.

  • Social Media/Reputation Management Director  
Bellevue, Washington 
Wendy Guo
    Posted by Wendy Guo, Bellevue, Washington | May 03, 2010

    Although I hate turning away people who are interested, but not in my core competency-- you are completely right. Just today I had to turn down a couple of people who were interested in our services, but was out of niche. Thanks for reassuring/reminding me by writing this article!

    Thanks again.

    Wendy

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 03, 2010

    Diane- Thanks for reinforcing my point- and you being a graphic artist must know how hard it is to create marketing materials when someone isn't sure what they want to communicate.

    Beth- congratulations to you!! That's so funny- that fear of picking the wrong one. Many people feel this way. In truth, it really doesn't matter because you can change it as you get clearer, and now that you have decided I bet even more clarity will come now.

    Suzanne - I am glad you had a good laugh. In truth- this is how it feels to me all the time. I constantly feel pushed right up against my comfort zone and have to face fears, overcome obstacles etc. When I finally claimed my niche it made it all much easier immediately.

    Wendy- Isn't it a great feeling to know that you don't have to help everyone! Me too. Now I love it when I get to refer people on...

    Thanks to all of you for taking the time to comment. You all have reinforced and helped me. What a wonderful group we are here.

  • Hotel Operator, business developer, designer, environmental consultant 
Spring Green, Wisconsin 
Carolina Dursina
    Posted by Carolina Dursina, Spring Green, Wisconsin | May 04, 2010

    As always, I enjoy reading your article and yes indeed, narrowing it down it's easier for people to find you, setting your niche will help you attract the right customers!

    Great job Kaya, thank you for inviting me to read this!

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | May 04, 2010

    Kaya, great article and as always - boom - message received from the universe in a timely manner.

    I have always been pretty clear about who I serve - Women! Not all women but women who have pretty much tried a few things and know they don't have what they want and don't know what it is they want. Pretty broad and generic, huh?

    More specifically: I want to help women stop suffering from self destructive behaviors and beliefs; bad relationships, negative self talk, fad diets, substance abuse, and waiting for some sign to be brave and take their first step in claiming THEIR life.

    I believe by encouraging and supporting TRUE self ACCEPTANCE not just self SETTLING a woman can open herself to a horizon of possibilities.

    I have been wading in these waters to brand more specifically but it's time to dive in.

    Thanks again for the article - Great job!

  • Oregon's Family Photographer 
Troutdale, Oregon 
Steve Lents
    Posted by Steve Lents, Troutdale, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    I spent a great deal of time in the Hi-tech industry and it was always those vendors who specialized that were the most profitable and had the biggest customer base. You have hit another home run with this article.

    Steve

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    Teresa, I am glad I could help inspire you to get a clearer focus. I think you are on to it but still need to get it a bit sharper in order to narrow it down. Women healing from abuse and recovery, for instance, is a strong niche. But women who want the life they have always dreamed of, is a bit too vague and fluffy. I am sure you are an awesome life coach so that's not the issue. Let me know what you come up with. I am interested.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    Steve- Always good to hear from you too. Thanks for the reinforcement. It is such a simple concept but so hard for people to accept.

    What is your niche?

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    Exactly! That's my point. My original focus was women who wanted to live a life they have always dreamed of. Way to broad of scope.

    My intention is to champion the woman who's spirit is on the brink of break. This is the woman who may have gotten sober, left her abuser, of no longer the skinny hot thing she use to be - only to continue through life numb and accepting whatever happens by. This woman doesn't try to tap into her spirit of life, hope, happiness, joy - believing this is good enough. Recovery of Spirit comes to mind.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    Yes! I think you got it. I love that "skinny hot thing." Very descriptive!

  • Author/Coach/Speaker 
Tacoma, Washington 
Beth Buelow
    Posted by Beth Buelow, Tacoma, Washington | May 05, 2010

    Teresa, I love "Recovery of Spirit"... it seems like a great hook that would inspire someone to learn more. Based on what you've described as your ideal client, I think you're definitely on to something! My two cents :-)

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    Kaya, thanks for helping me sharpen my pencil.

    Beth, you're two cents is priceless;) Thanks for sharing.

  • Bellevue Graphic Designer/Illustrator/Toy & Book Creator 
Bellevue, Washington 
Susan Straub-Martin
    Posted by Susan Straub-Martin, Bellevue, Washington | May 05, 2010

    Kaya: Wonderful article. I started out last year and threw everything into the pot. I knew it was not the best plan, but as the year progressed I realized that if I started one specific path that the rest would follow.

    You can't want people to buy characters they don't know yet, tell their story and the rest will follow.

    Find your niche and people will find you too. Thank you.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 05, 2010

    Susan Most solo-business owners begin just he way you describe and then learn along the way. I am glad to hear your story and that it unfolded and you were able to get more specific. Your work looks really fun! I love it!

  • Internet Sales Consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
Howard Howell
    Posted by Howard Howell, Seattle, Washington | May 06, 2010

    Kaya... Thanks for your continuing insight.

    Your comment about "your niche has to do with the people you market to - not the products and services you offer" has got me to thinking.

    I am continually trying to narrow my niche because each of my past successful business ventures were very narrow in services offered but broad in the industry served. I adapted my marketing approach to various niches in the industry.

    So, that is the approach I have been taking while narrowing my service offering in my sunset career of consulting.

    I must be honest with you, that you have suggested a new viewpoint that I must now ponder in my own approach to "Riches in Niches", a book by Susan Friedmann which I recommend frequently, but have not re-read for about two years now.

    I'll let you know how I'm inspired to change my current approach. Thanks for provoking something new for me to consider.

    ...Howard

  • Professional and Business Development & Communications Consultant 
San Francisco, California 
Sandy Jones-Kaminski
    Posted by Sandy Jones-Kaminski, San Francisco, California | May 06, 2010

    Luv this article Kaya!

    You sound like me talking to about 1/2 of my clients (SMB owners) and I am going to share this w/a few of them to reinforce my coaching. (BTW, some are here on biznik, some aren't, so I'll probably tweet it too.) As you said, it is such a simple concept but so hard for many people to accept.

    And, since the cobbler's kids have no shoes, this is a great reminder for my own biz as well. Nice job!

    SandyJK

  • Enterpreneur 
Mumbai, Maharashtra India 
Gopal Pradhan
    Posted by Gopal Pradhan, Mumbai, Maharashtra India | May 06, 2010

    So simple, yet so profound, when you say "Niche" has to do with the people / common needs you market to - not the prod / service you offer.

    Now should we expect the follow-up article to this...like...."The Art of identifying your Niche" :-)

  • Digital Marketing 
London, Greater London United Kingdom 
Aaron Savage
    Posted by Aaron Savage, London, Greater London United Kingdom | May 06, 2010

    I must admit that I don't often heap praise on the articles that are published here, as very often they tend to reflect page one of a text book instead of offering any kind of analysis or pearls of wisdom.

    This is different and genuinely inciteful. Great article, spot on. Thanks for sharing

  • graphic design 
Batavia, Illinois 
Lisa Youngdahl
    Posted by Lisa Youngdahl, Batavia, Illinois | May 06, 2010

    When you find your niche, this helps you in developing all your marketing efforts. It guides you in writing the copy for your website, helps you decide which networking events to attend. You know where your target is at, and are aiming to hit that target.

    You summed it up concisely: "the people / common needs you market to - not the prod / service you offer."

  • RECRUITER 
TEMECULA, California 
Brian Johnston
    Posted by Brian Johnston, TEMECULA, California | May 06, 2010

    Kaya- Thanks for the insight.... I learned about these principles in the recession 2001/2002.

    I agree with you, the more narrow/ focused the more people precieve you as an expert weather you are an expert or not..

    Thanks, Brian-

  • Design & Construction 
Brooklyn, New York 
Vincent Nativo
    Posted by Vincent Nativo, Brooklyn, New York | May 06, 2010

    I am fortunate to be 2nd generation to work in a niche business.

    I am currently a general contractor (as well as an architect) who does residential & educational projects in NYC primarily for nonprofit/not-for-profit organizations & agencies. We do not make a killing when times are good, but we are able to hold our own in our current economy.

    Being in this niche, we are able to standardize our work to comply to the strict rules of the state funding agencies, such as DASNY and NYS Office of Mental Health. It is all 2nd nature for us. Because of this, we do not do much, if any, private work, nor do we do any developer/builder work. We cannot compete w/ the competition out there. Especially from 5 - 6 years ago, anyone how knew how to by a hammer started their own construction business.

    Having this advantage of my company’s history and well standing working with this sector since the 1970’s, has proven itself time & time again that it does work.

    When these groups hire us, they know what to expect, as we do from them during the course of our projects.

    Create a niche business, high quality standards, and you will be set for as long as you want.

  • product designer 
Spokane, Washington 
Cherie Killilea
    Posted by Cherie Killilea, Spokane, Washington | May 06, 2010

    When someone first recommended the niche I currently serve (women who sew,) I was afraid it was too small. But I had to ask myself, "How much can one person do?" Now, 2 years after focusing on my niche, I have a licensing contract with Simplicity Pattern Company. It really doesn't get any bigger than that for one woman who sews. Or maybe it can...

  • General Contractor, Builder, Remodeler 
Chappaqua, New York 
Bruce Woolf
    Posted by Bruce Woolf, Chappaqua, New York | May 06, 2010

    We do battle with this all the time. I am a general contractor with a custom cabinet shop just outside of NYC and work in NYC and its suburbs.

    So, are we a design/build remodeler? A kitchen and bath company? Additions and renovations?

    We are good at what we do, and we do it all when it comes to residential remodeling, but I often wonder if that's the best way.

    More food for thought.

    Thanks.

  • Founder & Director, Medical Marketing Agency 
Marblehead, Massachusetts 
Gary Duffy
    Posted by Gary Duffy, Marblehead, Massachusetts | May 06, 2010

    Kaya: Great article. As a small business owner, I have a razor sharp focus on serving the marketing communications needs of medical device, diagnostic and life science clients. Because I have a virtual model, my best customers are those who don't have the budgets to work with a traditional full service agency but need more than individual freelance help. Having a niche makes the buying decision easier when clients clearly see where you fit into their world. I look at niche marketing as an essential part of the strategy that drives more of the right business your way.

  • Information Automation 
Lynnwood, Washington 
Peter Frix
    Posted by Peter Frix, Lynnwood, Washington | May 06, 2010

    Good Morning Kayla,

    Our value proposition increases in direct proportion to the narrowness of our niche. Interviews and consults get real clean, real quick.

    Your article was an excellent reminder that strength, like a laser, exists within effort that is focused. Thank you!

    BTW - We guys have all the same fears :-)

  • ceo 
tully, Queensland Australia 
Charles Gonzalves
    Posted by Charles Gonzalves, tully, Queensland Australia | May 06, 2010

    Hello Kaya, This is one article that has brought out so many hdden issues to the fore. I felt as though you were actually speaking to me. I am guilty of operating under "Thinking Error" and always wondered why I was stagnating. Discomort of Making alot of money is a classic example. I found your article highly effective in getting me to think seriously and to change my thinking and strategies. In a lighter note, your article put a broad smile that's been missing in me. Regards

  • Consultant 
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 
Richard Hollabaugh
    Posted by Richard Hollabaugh, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida | May 06, 2010

    Kaya: great advice. I was particularly glad to see the comments of Vincent Nativo. I consult to commercial general contractors and subcontractors. They are all hurting right now and it is quite depressing going to industry meetings and listen to them cry on each others shoulders about the state of the industry in this market. For the most part they do not have a nitch, have a weak marketing message (usually something like "we do quality work") and will bid any job they find out about and can get on the bid list. Worst of all they are doing nothing in the way of a SWOT accessmnet or identifying what market segments will likely break out of the recession first and how they can position their companies to take advantage of that. They keep doing the same things they did when work was plentiful and slowly laying off employees - a recipe for going out of business. For all of the above reasons they are forced to compete solely on price and that is a terrible place for any business in any industry to be in.

  • Math Tutor/Teacher/Mentor 
Portland, Oregon 
Christine Dreier
    Posted by Christine Dreier, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    Hi, Kaya, I'm again and again amazed how you manage to speak to me and my concerns in your articles. This one hit various of my buttons, namely my wondering of the last couple weeks if I really have defined my niche well enough. I do, but needed a reminder. The other point that was a direct hit, was the feeling of needing more and more training in your field, when you know that's not what is most needed. Is that an escape mechanism? Thanks for your great tips and insights.

  • President/Moving & Storage Company 
Santa Clara, California 
Kim Tucker
    Posted by Kim Tucker, Santa Clara, California | May 06, 2010

    Thanks for writing this, it was perfect timing as we are expanding and looking at what we need to do to get to the next level.

    I own a Moving & Storage Company in Silicon Valley and we specialize in local moves. I've been ask many times why we don't do long distance. Of course I've thought about branching out but always come back to "we are good at what we do" and don't want to sacrifice quality.

    Too many business owners bite off more than they can chew and end up not providing quality service to anyone because of it. As business owners we need to focus on what we do best and let someone else handle the rest.

    Narrow it down, who our ideal client is and market to that person.

    Thanks again for writing this. It has helped to keep me focused.

  • Principal 
New York, New York 
Michelle Gorenstein
    Posted by Michelle Gorenstein, New York, New York | May 06, 2010

    Kaya- thank you for such a clear and insightful post. After many years in the graphic design business, I'm tired of spinning my wheels in every direction. Reading your post this morning just reinforced the shift I am making to focus on a niche. Funny how I help my clients do this, yet wasn't doing it for myself!

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    I woke up to all these wonderful comments. I want to read each one more carefully and will do that later. However- I want to let you all know how gratifying it is to hear your words. Thank you so much!

  • Financial Consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
David Giannini
    Posted by David Giannini, Seattle, Washington | May 06, 2010

    Thank you for a very good article and a timely reminder for me. I am currently in the process of scaling back on clients that do not fit our niche. It is not easy and some don’t understand but if I am to offer the best possible service I need to focus on a niche group of clients with whom I can be effective.

  • Entrepreneurship Consultant for Creatives 
North Hollywood, California 
Susan M. Baker
    Posted by Susan M. Baker, North Hollywood, California | May 06, 2010

    Great advice Kaya - thanks for sharing!

  • small spa owner 
Saraland, Alabama 
Linda Williams
    Posted by Linda Williams, Saraland, Alabama | May 06, 2010

    I keep hearing this so many times, so I have decided to start doing my Niche Marketing. Bad thing for me is coming up with creative headlines for my brochures, website, or any other marketing. I seem to keep going back to the every thing for everyone. My business has really dropped off recently. I am both a licensed massage therapist & esthetician.

  • Entrepreneur:  e commerce 
Dallas, Texas 
Greg Smithers
    Posted by Greg Smithers, Dallas, Texas | May 06, 2010

    Thank you, thank you....thank you! I needed that nudge to think outside the box.

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    Done! Life coaching for Recovery is my niche'. It seems so clear and perfect. How could I have been unaware for so long. Don't know. Don't care. Glad to be here!

    Thanks again Kaya. Your article was the perfect catalyst! Read more on my profile or my website www.awomandivine.com under Recovery of Spirit.

  • Nutrition Coaching, Microscopist and Yoga Teacher 
Pauma Valley (San Diego Co.), California 
Jane Falke
    Posted by Jane Falke, Pauma Valley (San Diego Co.), California | May 06, 2010

    Great article. I'm new to the web and online networking. I enjoyed this article because I've been looking at my niche - what do I do that is different than other nutritionists? Very thought provoking. I'm working on it. Thanks for you insight.

  • Owner & Sole Member - Civil Split LLC 
San Mateo, California 
Sandy Rivers
    Posted by Sandy Rivers, San Mateo, California | May 06, 2010

    Well written. Teresa Rodden made a great comment above that caught my eye: "Recovery of spirit." There are a lot of adjectives in "spirit" - and once you recapture that life force...who can stop you? Thanks for the great read today.

  • Career Block Doc 
Seattle, Washington 
Nancy Linnerooth
    Posted by Nancy Linnerooth, Seattle, Washington | May 06, 2010

    You are so right, Kaya, not just about the need to choose a niche but the difficulty people have actually narrowing their focus.

    I knew I needed a niche but couldn't figure out what that was until I got some great advice in a marketing training I was taking. Look at who you are and what you have accomplished. Often, people like you are exactly who you should be focused on.

    With that, my niche just fell into place. Now I work with professionals and very small business owners who know what they need to do to grow their business but for some reason just don't do it. I help them identify what is getting them bogged down (underlying beliefs like they don't deserve to succeed, money is evil, they'll lose friends if they do well) and root it out so they can easily do what they need to and succeed.

    Hope that advice I got can help other people, too.

  • Business Mentor and Author 
Seattle, Washington 
Gerald  Grinter
    Posted by Gerald Grinter, Seattle, Washington | May 06, 2010

    Kaya! Wow! I couldn't agree more. As a business owner and small business coach/mentor for a non-profit that specializes in micro lending this hits home for me. There are many barriers to success and wealth, most of which are self-imposed and your article gives me energy and instight to share to with my group of business owners. Great article. Can't wait for the next.

  • Small Business Coach - Consultant 
Ocala, Florida 
Tommy Jaye
    Posted by Tommy Jaye, Ocala, Florida | May 06, 2010

    Hey Kaya,

    Very, very nice article - clear, concise and most importantly, focusing on a strategic issue that many small businesses consistently overlook, misapply or even avoid.

    Your key point says it all - "your niche has to do with the people (the target) you market to, not the products and services you offer."

    For years, I have been advising small business owners to identify their purpose by answering two very important questions: Who is your Customer? And, what benefits are those customers willing to pay for?

    If an entrepreneur cannot adequately articulate the answers to these two fundamental questions they have completely missed the point of starting any type of business.

  • Brand Strategist + Marketing Maven 
Portland, Oregon 
Lacy Kirkland
    Posted by Lacy Kirkland, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    LOVE this article, Kaya!

    I just had a similar conversation with an Executive Coach friend who echoed your brilliant words. What is it with our fear of commitment to one niche? It all makes sense, yet I won't say it didn't take me about 2 years to figure mine out. And really, it was quite obvious!

    This same friend noted that once we get clear on our outcomes, that is, what we want from it and why you want to be a Life Coach, Business Consultant, etc. and what does that look like?

    Once we've identified that, the niche is clear. Everything falls into place and marketing for that niche seems like a no-brainer. Of course, the niche needs to be one that people have a need for.

    Oooh the things we wish we'd learned before we spent years struggling along.

    Thank you for paving the way. I am inspired!

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    Howard - Thanks for sharing your insights. I am sure there are exceptions but rare! It is all about wide amount of services to a small narrow niche. I haven't read Susan Friedman's book but I will add it to my list.:) I always enjoy hearing from you.

    Gopal- thanks for offering an idea for my next article :)

    Aaron- wow. Thank you so much for putting my article in that category. In all my writing I attempt to make it authentic and from my experience. This is how I have written my whole book. Thanks so much for your praise. That means so much to me!

    Lisa and Brian- yes once you know your niche, everything falls into place. Your whole marketing plan is based on that. Thanks for your nice comments.

    Vincent- Thanks for offering your personal example of how this can work. It sounds like you totally have it focused.

    Cherie- Your story is priceless! Women who sew is a huge, huge group! It even includes women who don't sew but want to :) What a wonderful result you share and it shows how it works.

    Bruce - sounds like you do lovely work and great products. I guess for you it is about really knowing "who" you are aiming at helping. Glad I could get your thinking.

    Gary- Thanks for sharing your story and showing how it works in your business. Yes- it helps clients to make decisions.

    Peter- It is good to know that you guys have all the same fears :)

    Charles - Wow- you put a smile on my face as well! It is gratifying to know that my words made a difference to you. I could do another whole article on money discomfort. Thanks for the idea.

    Richard- you are so right on. Without a niche your marketing is flat and lacks meat. You send up saying the same boring elevator speech over and over and no one is attracted to you. I wish you could help all those people. Walmart's niche is about price- but unless you are like them- you cannot compete on price-ever! People want a specialist.

    Christine- thanks for helping me to write the article :) You offered a perfect example. More training is sometimes good but not a substitute for working on your business.

    Kim- Wonderful example. If your niche is local people who need help moving, than it is more about looking at expanding to more services to help that group.

    Michelle- I am a stellar example of the shoemakers kids being barefoot! You are not alone. I learn so much from my clients- all the time.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    David, Susan and Greg - thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Linda- I Have had many massage therapists as clients and many people have this same challenge as you do. Hint: Focus on the problems or issues your niche clients are facing and write those words in the headline. They will recognize themselves and will want to read it. I am happy to talk with you more about how to do that.

    Teresa- Yea!! I'll look at your website.

    Jake- it is not about what you do that is different. The questions is "who" do you offer it to and what is their issue. Glad I could help.

    Nancy- yes- the difficulty of focusing is the main issue. Good luck!

    Gerald- thanks so much and I am happy to come and give a presentation to your group :)

    Tommy- excellent two questions you mention. Spot on.

    Lacy- I can relate to your wish to avoid struggle. Sometimes I guess it is part of the process but i don't enjoy it either! Once I identified my niche- my business began to grow. Now I have new issues to face. All part of business - overcoming obstacles. They don't do away- they just change as your business grows.

  • Virtual Assistant / Personal Assistant / Administrative Services 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Stephanie Lee
    Posted by Stephanie Lee, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | May 07, 2010

    Kaya, fantastic article! Just what and when I needed it too!

    I'm in the process of redefining and redesigning my business and am finally taking niche marketing seriously. I am the poster child for your article, lol!

    Everyone has always said, "make sure you define your niche", but NOONE has really broken it down like you have with some great examples. THAT's what I needed to see - I now know I have to segment my target market even further to really get to the niche I think I can help the most.

    You have helped me to get some major clarity and direction, so THANK YOU! :)

  • Small Business Coach - Consultant 
Ocala, Florida 
Tommy Jaye
    Posted by Tommy Jaye, Ocala, Florida | May 07, 2010

    Hey Kaya, thanks for the shout back!

  • Luxury Watch Consultant, Writer and Speaker 
Los Angeles, California 
Meehna Goldsmith
    Posted by Meehna Goldsmith, Los Angeles, California | May 07, 2010

    Excellent article and a great reminder to stay focused even when other well-meaning folks want you to expand your expertise to be more inclusive.

  • Alternative Sinus Treatment 
Bellevue, Washington 
Frank Aversano, ND
    Posted by Frank Aversano, ND, Bellevue, Washington | May 07, 2010

    As a sinus trouble sub-specialist, I get Kaya's point: Give folks only one path, the path to your door. Thanks for a sprite and intelligent commentary.

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | May 09, 2010

    Thanks for reinforcing this very important concept, Kaya. We noticed when we made the move to our niche that #2 and #3 particularly were true. People FINALLY get what you do! So they can tell others about you.

    The "nichifying" became especially important to us as we began to plan for the launch of our new membership site. To be seen as an expert and go-to person on a particular topic gave us the credibility we needed to sell our memberships.

    This article is helping many people. Thanks for writing it.

  • Founder of PWA PN 
Coral Springs, Florida 
Carlos V Roman
    Posted by Carlos V Roman, Coral Springs, Florida | May 09, 2010

    Hi. I launched a niche social network called PublicWorksAgency and I totally agree with the article.

    There are many challenges related to a focused niche business and I learned over the months that you build a niche business over time. It's a marathon not a sprint.

    Carlos V. Roman

  • Small Business SEO Expert 
Boulder, Colorado 
Reid Peterson
    Posted by Reid Peterson, Boulder, Colorado | May 10, 2010

    Do we fear to narrow our niche because we are social creatures by nature and reducing the amount of possibilities of people to interact/sell to is like thinking we will have less social opportunities?

  • Internet entrepreneur 
Asheville, North Carolina 
Suzanne Arthur
    Posted by Suzanne Arthur, Asheville, North Carolina | May 10, 2010

    It's so interesting, but I've found that narrowing my niche actually widened my possibilities, instead of having the opposite effect, which I might have suspected. It's similar to building a structure. You'd think that putting up walls would make a space seem smaller, but it actually feels bigger.

    P.S. Hi Kaya, I'm new to Biznik, and I just put up my first article, "How to Choose Your Niche." Thank you kindly for inspiring me :)

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 10, 2010

    Reid - Thanks for your interesting perspective. My observation is that most small business owners barely have time for socializing so I don't think that is it. It is fear based mainly, thinking that they can sell their products to "anyone." I do agree with you though that they are afraid of reducing possibilities. However the possibilities and choices need to be with your products. There are unlimited products you can offer to the same person.

    Suzanne - thanks for supporting this and I will of course have a look at your article!

    Carols- yes- it takes time to really figure out your focus and a good solid business doesn't get built over night.

    Judy- thanks for your points too. I will look for your membership site. I just built a membership site too and it totally focused on my niche. I wouldn't have been able to do it otherwise.

    Stephanie- So glad my article spoke to you and helped you. Examples always work for me as well. Maybe you are also a kinesthetic learner :)

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | May 10, 2010

    Kaya,

    How exciting! I will definitely check out your new membership site.

    You can see ours here.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 10, 2010

    Your site looks great!! Mine is still unfolding - big job but it is getting there!

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | May 10, 2010

    Very cool, Kaya. It takes much hard work to put a membership site together!

    I look forward learning more as this unfolds.

  • Freelance Website Producer 
Melbourne, Victoria Australia 
Matt Jensen
    Posted by Matt Jensen, Melbourne, Victoria Australia | May 11, 2010

    Nice reading, thanks :)

  • Professional Organizer 
Chicago, Illinois 
Pooja Gugnani
    Posted by Pooja Gugnani, Chicago, Illinois | May 11, 2010

    Hi Kaya, I am new to Biznik and loved your article. Using Judy's coined phrase "nichifying' was really helpful for my business as well. I admit to an initial fear of limiting myself, but it has proved to be more successful now.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 11, 2010

    Pooja- welcome to Biznik. Thank you for sharing about your own success.

  • Owner 
South Jordan, Utah 
Kimberlee Thorne
    Posted by Kimberlee Thorne, South Jordan, Utah | May 13, 2010

    Hi Kaya,

    I'm also fairly new at Biznik.

    I've reposted your article on all my social networking sites. People have thanked me over and over again for your article and it's made me focus in my business as well, which is languages.

    I used to try to offer everything, but now I'm focusing on what I do well, which is Spanish & English and revision work (editing & proofreading).

    Thanks for your wonderful advice!

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | May 13, 2010

    Kimberlee- I am so glad that I helped you. I am gratified that you posted my article on your sites. Thank you so much.

  • CPA, Accountant 
Irvine, California 
Shaun Lawrence
    Posted by Shaun Lawrence, Irvine, California | Jun 13, 2010

    I have been struggling to define my niche for my firm. I don't want to miss opportunities but have had many people that suggest a niche will bring me more clients. I understand the benefits of being a specialist and the potential for higher fees and more referrals I just need to establish one. Still a little reluctant though. Will I still get the other clients. Is their enough potential clients in a certain industry? This helps, thanks.

  • Co-owner 
Willingboro, New Jersey 
Surera Ward
    Posted by Surera Ward, Willingboro, New Jersey | Nov 01, 2010

    Extremely helpful article. We have been fighting this decision for a long time. I am now convinced that we must face our fear of niche marketing which can help us grow and prevent failure..

    Thanks so much for this article.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | Nov 02, 2010

    Hi Shaun and Surera

    Thanks for your comments. Instead of the word "niche," just think about who really, really needs your services and what problem they really, really need help with from you.

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