Do you need a niche as a small business owner? (the answer might surprise you)

April 12, 2022

You don’t need to choose a ‘niche’ for your small business. Here’s what to do instead.

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One of the most unhelpful small business marketing tips I hear is ‘pick a niche’.

But you can’t really ‘pick’ a niche – because your niche will pick you!

In this episode of the Courageous Content Podcast you’ll learn:

Why ‘client avatars’ are unhelpful

One of the most unhelpful pieces of marketing advice I see being shared in the online space is ‘create your Ideal Client Avatar.’

The idea that you ‘list’ the qualities of your ideal client e.g. where they shop, what kind of car they drive, where they go on holiday etc.

The truth is your ideal client is someone who will pay you money to help them solve a specific problem (or solve it for them).

If people have already paid you money to solve a specific problem – those people are your ideal clients. Not some ‘fantasy’ list of people you’d love to work with at some point in the future.

And if you need to bring money into your business, the best place to start is with your existing customer/client base (not by choosing a new niche where you have no contacts/track record).

What makes a great small business niche

Your ideal niche is an area where you can find enough people who will pay you money
to solve a specific problem.

Ideally, your niche will combine three things:

  • Things you love doing
  • Things you’re good at
  • Things people will pay you for

But this is not always possible. Combining two of the three e.g. things you love/things people will pay you for or things you’re good at/things people will pay you for is more realistic. And the one non-negotiable is: things people will pay you for.

You can love doing something with all your heart, but if people don’t want to pay you for it it’s not a good business proposition.

This is a mistake I see so many new business owners making – especially in the coaching space.
And do remember that you don’t have to have a ‘forever niche’. And choosing the quickest and easiest niche for you to make money today can give you the financial freedom you need to explore other potential niches.

What makes a great small business niche

Why coaches struggle with finding a niche

Coaches commonly make the decision to move into coaching because of a personal/professional transformation e.g. leaving a career or relationship that isn’t serving them. Typically they then decide that they want to help others in the same situation have the same kind of epiphany.

What they often overlook is that just because they are willing to pay for coaching to achieve this particular transformation, that doesn’t mean other people will want to pay them for that transformation. Or certainly enough people to turn it into a sustainable business.

Which means they often end up frustrated because they aren’t attracting enough clients. And feeling like the problem is their marketing – when the real problem is their ‘offer’ i.e. they’re trying to sell something people don’t actually want to buy. Which is the quickest route to a failing business.

For example, when I started my coaching/consultancy business, I specialised in helping people get press/PR (I even wrote a book on this topic). My clients were mainly in the education/not-for-profit sector – because, as a former education journalist, this was an area where I had expert knowledge and a network of ideal clients.

This was NOT my ideal niche – but serving this niche was the quickest/easiest way for me to pay my bills at the time – and gave me the financial freedom to work on finding my ideal niche on the side.

Find out: how to launch a 1-2-1 service.

Why you can’t choose a small business niche

You can’t really ‘pick’ a niche anyway – because your niche will pick you.

I’ve seen this play out with clients – time and time again.

And often it’s that thing they’re resisting, the thing people trying to pay them for – over and over again. But they refuse to acknowledge – because they’re too busy trying to sell services they want to sell but people don’t want to buy.

So stay alert – because your niche will find you (in fact it may already have).

Finding your business niche is one of the topics covered in my Business Basics Content Kit. The kit also contains templates for creating a coaching/consultancy offer, sales page copy, coaching/consultancy packages, social media bios and the ‘about’ page for your website. Click here to invest in the Business Basics Content Kit.

Janet Murray’s Business Basics Content Kit

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