Should you niche down or start a general business?
The life of an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. You’ll have to work hard if you want to be successful, and you can’t just do “anything” and expect to succeed. You need to do something you’re passionate about, something you’re good at, and something you can be the best in the world at.
You also need a plan.
Continue reading to learn more about why you should think hard about niching down and how it can help your business thrive.
What Does it Mean to “Niche Down”?
In the early stages of starting a business, you often want to start with an audience and their problem.
Who is my audience? And what problem do they have?
If there is a large enough problem and a large enough need for that solution (aka your audience), you may be on the verge of a great business idea.
The problem is that we often start too broad with our audience and who we are really speaking to.
For example, let’s say you are a fitness instructor and you help people achieve their fitness goals. This is incredibly broad.
Fitness is a massive industry and there is no shortage of fitness gurus that want to help you achieve your fitness goals. Marketing yourself as “a fitness instructor who helps you achieve personal fitness goals” is not going to make you stand out amongst the thousands of others who do the same.
Instead of focusing our efforts on trying to reach everyone with our message, we need to think about how we can target smaller subsets within the “fitness industry.” This focus on smaller demographics within a broader industry is called niching down.
Why Do You Need to Niche Down?
Like I mentioned above, if you’re thinking too broad, you’re going to get lost in the sea of others who do exactly what you do.
Following our fitness example, there are huge companies and brands in the fitness industry. How are you going to stack up against people like Chalene Johnson or Chris Powel? Targeting every human being in the world isn’t going to get you there.
If you want to carve your own space in your industry, you need to think on a smaller scale. But don’t worry, thinking smaller here isn’t going to hurt you. It’s going to help!
Here are some other benefits to niching down.
1. Choosing a Niche Helps You Attract a Specific Audience
I recently interviewed Karl Hughes on episode 38 of the Nine-Five Podcast and we talked exactly about his digital marketing agency, specifically geared towards software startups.
Karl started Draft.dev as a way to leave behind his 9-5 and start building his own brand. Karl purposely chose to be specific with his audience.
You tell me which of these sounds more impactful:
“We are a digital marketing agency that helps you write better content for your website.”
“Technical Marketing Content for Software Startups. We create blog posts and tutorials designed to reach software engineers.”
The first statement is very broad. I could be talking to anybody. With the second statement (which I pulled off of Draft’s homepage), it’s very clear who the service is for.
If you were a software engineer, which content marketing service would you likely choose?
2. Niching Down Helps You Build Better Rapport with Your Audience
When you finally find a niche, your content can be highly-focused and tailored directly to your specific audience’s needs.
With a niche, your audience understands that what you create is specifically for them. If I’m a software engineer, I want to know that the digital marketing agency I’m working with understands my industry and that it will be a good investment for my growth.
What if the marketing agency is very broad? They help people in many different industries.
Would I really feel comfortable as a software engineer, working with a marketing agency who works with Instagram influencers, email marketing services, and ecommerce shop creators?
Niching down lets your audience know that you know them.
3. Be the Expert at Something Specific
Just like I mentioned above, niching down differentiates you from every other brand or business in your industry.
Let’s keep rolling with our digital marketing example here.
Karl and his team might not be digital marketing experts. But if his focus is primarily on digital marketing for software startups, he could easily become THE digital marketing expert for software startups.
That is a very powerful position to be in.
How to Start Niching Down: Customer Avatar
When you’re ready to focus on a small niche and grow you business, you need to think very hard about your target market.
Create an avatar for who you’re speaking to with your brand or business. Here are a few questions to think about to get started:
- What is your ideal customer’s name?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- Do they have a family? (how many kids?)
- Do they have a job? (What is it?)
- Where do they hang out on social media?
- What do they do for fun? (hobbies, activities, etc)
- What are their interests and passions?
- How much money do they make?
- What is the biggest pain point in their life? (personally and professionally)
If you can begin to clearly identify WHO your target audience is, finding what your niche is going to be becomes so much easier.
Is My Niche Profitable?
Once you’ve identified what your target audience looks like, you need to know if you’ve found a profitable niche.
I’m sure there are different resources out there to use that can help you determine this. However, one of the best things you can do is to reach out and start talking to people.
LinkedIn and Reddit can both be great places for find answers like this. Find people on LinkedIn who fit within your avatar, or who’s business fits your avatar and have real conversations.
- Is this a real pain point for you?
- Have you tried paying to alleviate this pain?
- What was that experience like? (Why didn’t it work?)
Even though our goal is to niche down, we still have to make sure that people are willing to pay us for our product or service within that niche.
In this clip from my interview with Karl Hughes, he talks specifically about how he was able to figure out if he chose the right niche.
Let’s Start Niching Down
I’m not going to say that it’ll be easy to do.
There’s something about saying I’m going to severely cut down my potential audience size that is intimidating.
But the truth is, your business is going to thrive because of it. Pat Flynn has said this quote many times on his podcast, “The Riches are in the Niches.”
Start thinking harder about who you’re really trying to serve and take the leap.
I want to know!
What did you think of this post? Do you have more questions?
Let me know in the comment section below.
If you want to hear more about the process of niching down and finding the right niche, listen to the full-episode with Karl Hughes. In the episode we talk about:
- how he decided on the niche
- how he’s been able to turn his niche into a business, generating $40k of reoccurring monthly revenue
- when is is the right time to start hiring employees for your business.
You can also find the podcast episode on your favorite podcast app!