Transitioning from an employee business coach to running my own business and coaching others how to do the same, I’ve gotten to re-examine what it takes to run a business from the ground floor up and really testing if I practice what I coach. From identifying my values and purpose, clarifying my brand, budgeting, developing my infrastructure as well as products and services, I’ve had the chance to work from the inside-out and see where my own edges still are in growing along with my business.
One of those areas is in identifying my niche market in my marketing strategy. Niche marketing is one of the buzzwords that all marketers strongly recommend, and it makes sense: know who your primary market is, and who it is not. This will help save countless hours of energy and marketing dollars in getting more efficient in reaching your customer base. In fact, this article by Entrepreneur does a great job in defining your niche market and proper steps to take.
Brand First, Marketing Second
Often the missing ingredient is that most business owners don’t take the time and dive deep to discover their brand and brand strategy first. You have to know who you are before you know who you are talking to. If you don’t do the work of clarifying exactly what your brand is and what you are standing for, how will you ever be sure you are connecting with the right clients, employees, and marketing messaging?
Finding Your Niche is a Process
As the article above states, finding your niche is a process. I started by thinking about what industries and types of business would I want to work with? I used to work in adventure and cultural travel industries as well as coaching and training industries, plus have had a passion for marketing, technology, and web design. Soon, I realized there was a step that I skipped. That I was missing something core. And it started with me.
I realized that I wanted, more than anything, to work with business owners who shared similar values around self-responsibility, ownership and accountability, hunger and motivation to grow, creativity and thinking outside the box, a level of openness and willingness to be challenged, taking risks, and above all, feeling that they had a fire, a passion for leading their business and bringing this into alignment with their values. I also got clear that business owners who are only interested in money and not about meaning, and how to bring value to their customers or their world, are not the right fit for me. When I can feel the fire of a business owner’s meaning and passion, I want to serve that fire. I’m a fire tender.
My Niche is a Type of Person, Not an Industry
Once I got clear about my niche business owner to work with, I realized it doesn’t matter what industry they are in or where they are located. From this ideal client profile I later started to add to this picture and got clear that I also enjoy working with start-ups and companies with at least 3-5 employees. I enjoy working with the creativity of the entrepreneurial spirit, which is in pure form with a start-up, as well as the challenges of bringing employees on and having to deal with management, employee relationships, and truly creating a culture of ownership in the business. Thus these are also grounded in my values and who is a brand-fit for me.
What is Your Niche?
Are you clear about your niche market? Have you created an ideal customer profile and explored their demographics and psychographics? Are you clear about your brand and what you stand for?
If the answer is no, consider the value of making time to work ON your business carve out space for yourself to get clear about your values, passion, and purpose, your brand, and who would be the right candidate for you. I’m offering a daylong seminar on Business Leadership that will help you clarify and focus on the core principles that your business is founded on, and thus identifying your niche market. Follow the link below to learn more about this opportunity taking place on August 2 in San Francisco: