When starting a business, or looking to rebrand, finding your niche can feel like a daunting task. I get it, it’s a big deal. Your niche dictates the scope of your future work, who you will work with, and what you will be doing with your time. Now, I’m not a business coach and I’m certainly not an expert in marketing strategy but I had a big realisation when finding my own niche and it’s a thought that might just help you. So, here it is – my tip for finding your niche…
I want you to consider the difference between ‘a niche’ and ‘your niche’.
According to the dictionary definition, when it comes to business, ‘a niche’ is a specific area of the market that has its own particular requirements, audience, needs, and desires. It’s a product or service that targets a small pool of clients and appeals to only a few select people – with the same interests and pain points.
If you have done any work on discovering your ‘ideal client’ then the idea of finding a niche that will appeal to a certain customer (and only them) will sound amazing – but there’s a hitch. In fact, there are a few.
Finding ‘a niche’ doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily discovered something unique. A niche doesn’t have to mean a gap in the market. Just because you identify a small area of business, with a specific clientele, and you understand the wants and needs of your ideal client – doesn’t mean there isn’t another business (or thousands of other businesses) also targeting the same niche. That means you’ve potentially got lots of competition from the start and finding ‘a niche’ doesn’t mean you’ve found the way to win clients.
Even if you think yourself lucky in finding, or perhaps creating, a niche that you believe no one else has yet to tap into – consider this: a unique niche is only unique until someone else uses it. You could start a business on the premise of a completely valid and ‘unique’ niche that no one else has yet recognised a need for (though few ideas are truly original), but as soon as someone else has the same realisation as you and decides to target the same area of the market – you’ve immediately lost your USP (unique selling point).
There is also a very fine line between ‘a niche’ and a limited market. I know some will be shouting at their screen saying this thought comes from a limiting belief and there is plenty of work for everyone – but I’m not talking about competing with other businesses here or lacking in confidence. I’m talking about the danger of believing your core business values, audience, services and products rely on a small area of the market. Honing in on a niche can wipe out creativity, restrict your growth and development, prevent you seeing other areas of interest and profit, and ultimately limit your fulfilment. The saying ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’ comes to mind.
The meaning of ‘your niche’, however, is something quite different.
‘Your niche’ is defined as the perfect job or role for you, especially one you are good at and enjoy. Isn’t that a refreshing thought? You don’t have to worry about finding ‘a niche’ in the market, you just have to do what you are best at and the job that brings you joy.
Your niche is unique by definition…it’s yours. It’s not something you can research and choose, as such – it’s something you need to tune into, and it effectively chooses you. Sure, you might be covering the same audience as someone else, but they aren’t you. You are what makes your niche different, your particular skill set, knowledge, likes and personality. There is no way of finding two people with exactly the same niche when they have both focused on the theory of what they are good at and enjoy.
Your niche can easily progress and change as your skills develop, your business grows, and your interests change. Your niche isn’t limiting or restrictive. You can still work out your ideal client but now, instead of putting your focus on a small portion of clients with the same requirements (who can likely get similar, or exactly the same, services and products from your competitors) – you can focus on offering the services and products you are good at and enjoy, to the people who want to find them. Can you see the subtle but important difference?
A niche can become saturated or stagnant and relies on a small number of people needing what you provide and choosing your offer over someone else’s. Your niche can move with you and opens up possibilities, it thrives on your ideal client wanting what only you can offer: you.
I’m not promising a business founded on ‘your niche’ will do better than a business founded on ‘a niche’. I know many brands have become hugely successful by pinpointing incredibly specialised areas of the market, and not necessarily in a field they enjoy. I also know, however, that you wouldn’t be reading this if you hadn’t been stressing over making the right decision in finding the best niche for you.
So, my simple (and state the obvious) tip for the best chance of business fulfilment and finding your niche is…
Find your niche.