To Niche or Not to Niche
Can you describe exactly who you serve in less than 10 seconds? Unfortunately, most coaches can’t!
One of the most common questions I get from other coaches is related to who they should be serving and how narrow their focus should be. This is also known as selecting a niche for their business.
What is a niche?
A niche market is a more specific, and narrowly defined group of customers based on certain characteristics, such as their demographics and psychographics. Demographics refer to characteristics like age, gender, marital status, parental status, education, income, and so on.
Psychographics refer to their interests, hobbies, values, emotions, and other similar characteristics.
Most of the time, a niche will be selected or created based on some overlap of demographics and psychographics. But more importantly, your niche is defined by the obstacles, pains, fears and frustrations this population has that you can help work through with professional coaching.
Many coaches struggle with the idea that “niching down” will reduce the number of potential clients available in their market, which is completely understandable.
When I first started coaching business owners, I was lost and confused about who I should be serving.
So, like most, I started out broad. I knew I could help just about any small business owner, but I didn’t know who I could serve best, or how. But deep down, I knew I had to select a niche to narrow my focus at some point, or else I would never be able to target the right clients effectively or create something truly special just for them.
It wasn’t until I started conducting research and interacting with prospective clients that I found out what was best for me. It became obvious as certain prospects began to gravitate to me because I was naturally and authentically able to connect with them and serve them better than anyone else.
So now you might be wondering, should you select a niche for your business? And if so, when?
First, you should absolutely focus on a specific niche for your business. However, when to do so isn’t quite as straight forward. When I think about niching, there is a typical journey for your business when it comes time to “niche down.”
The Niching Journey
Stage 1: No niche, no problem
When you’re just starting your business, before you really have any clients or much experience as a coach, staying broad with your target audience can have its perks.
Since you are just starting out, you may not yet know enough about your market, or even about yourself to identify and establish a niche.
Things like who you like to work with, what problems you’re best at addressing, and everything else that goes into selecting a successful and profitable niche.
By staying general, you can start working with clients however you can, gaining as much experience and feedback as possible.
This is important so you can start taking action immediately, instead of sitting around trying to build your entire process before you even know anything about your target audience.
Stage 2: Select a niche to grow your business
Once you’ve had the opportunity to learn more about your target market and work closely with a few clients, you should start to gain a better understanding of how you can narrow the focus of your business.
This stage is crucial if you want to make things easier for yourself and grow your business more effectively.
Stage 2 is the time to select a niche!
Stage 3: More resources mean more options
The final stage is one that many may not reach – considering a broader audience or multiple niches at the same time. You could consider this if you’ve dominated your specific niche and are set up for massive growth, meaning you have large amounts of money and resources, systems in place, and a well-known brand.
So, depending on where you are in your business, your decision to niche, or not to niche, could be very different.
However, the majority of coaches should fall under the stage where they MUST select a niche in order to effectively grow their business and remove the overwhelming feeling of trying to be everything to everyone.
So – where are you on your coaching journey? Are you still learning what niche you can best serve? Ready to grow your business by focusing on a very specific niche? Or, do you have a full team ready to expand into additional niches?
If you want to learn more about identifying and selecting your niche, download my Free Niche Market Cheat Sheet.