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How to Harness the Power of a Niche to Grow Your Small Business

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How to Harness the Power of a Niche to Grow Your Small Business

Do you ever feel like you are a mouse on a wheel, never getting ahead?  Do you have a broad customer base and have different customer groups demanding completely different things from you?  Maybe you are making the mistake of trying to ‘do everything for everyone.’

As a Small Business owner, having a broad customer base makes things difficult.  It is time-consuming to create repeatable systems, because you are delivering so many different services.  It is also tricky to create marketing material because your market is so broad.

The good news is that narrowing down to a niche might be the solution to your problems. It may sound counterintuitive to scale your business by narrowing your market, but focusing on a niche can have a huge impact on your success and enjoyment as a business owner.

Focusing on finding a niche in your Small Business has many benefits including:

1. Positioning and being perceived as an expert

Specialising in a particular area will help to position you as an expert in that field. If you are a lawyer running a business called Lawyers for Dentists, dental practice owners are far more likely to consider you an expert in their industry and want to work with you, than a business called Johnston and Co Lawyers.

2. Build repeatable systems and processes

By working with the same kind of customers with the same kind of problems, over time it becomes easier to develop repeatable systems.  This will help you to scale up and build a team, while still delivering a consistent high-quality experience to your customers.

3. Benefits to your customers

Your specialisation benefits your customers too. They are working with an expert who has a detailed understanding of their business and industry.  This makes communication faster and more enjoyable.  It also results in a service that has been customised to meet the needs of their industry rather than being generic.

So how do you find your niche? Here are a few questions to think about and answer:

What are your skills, passions and areas of expertise?

Be honest with yourself here. What do you enjoy doing and what makes you unique?

I love the story of a business analyst who could draw and was reasonably funny.  His drawing skills weren’t enough to become an artist, and he wasn’t funny enough to be a comedian.  By combining his business knowledge with his sense of humor and drawing skills, he found his niche …. A cartoonist commentating on business issues. 

A few other examples are:

  1. A web designer who had a passion for health and fitness and then specialised in websites for gyms
  2. An accountant who is passionate about location independent and lifestyle businesses specialised in bookkeeping for online businesses (that is me!)

Think about your unique combination of skills, expertise, and passion.

Which of your existing customers do you enjoy working with and why?

Next, go through a list of your existing customers.  Who do you enjoy working with and why?  Dig into the why to understand what it is that makes these customers enjoyable to work with.

Understanding who these customers are will help you to find more of them! 

Why customers value what you do and are recommending you?

After reflecting on customers you enjoy working with, think about which customers value the work you do for them?  Who is recommending you to their friends and family?  What is it about working with you that they particularly like and why?  This might surprise you!

Which customers are most profitable and why?

Hopefully, you should have a way of tracking customer profitability within your business.  Review these reports and think about the characteristics of your most profitable customers?

Do they have clear expectations about what they want?  Do they respond quickly to requests for information?  Are they are certain size business who can afford your premium package?

I had a surprise realisation when I went through this exercise in my own business.

“The clients who loved working with us were also the most enjoyable to work with and often the most profitable.” 

Narrowing down to a niche can have a huge impact on building your business.  Think about your skills and passions and also review your customer base to find the characteristics of the customers you love to work with.

Once you’ve found your niche its time to make a name for yourself and attract plenty more of your ideal client!

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