How do I find my niche?

Cressida Johns Uncategorised

How to Find Your Niche

So you’ve decided you want to start a business of your own but aren’t 100% sure what your business should ‘be’?  Don’t worry – you’re in the right place!

First of all – what IS a niche?

Wikipedia tells us: A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused.  The market niche defines as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact.  It is also a small market segment.

In more simplistic terms – a niche is either a product or service being offered to a specific group or groups of consumers.

But how do you work out what your niche should be?  And how do you know that you can build a profitable business around it?

That’s a good question and without talking to you, obviously it’s quite difficult to answer.  But if you follow the simple steps below you’ll quickly have a good idea of what your future business could be based around.

1)  List your skills

Ideally, you should build a business around something that not only are you good at – but something that you’re passionate about.  You want to run a business to make money – that’s a given, but you are far more likely to be successful – and to get past all the obstacles and issues that crop up if you love what you do.  Your passion will also shine through whenever you’re marketing your business – your clients will see it in your website, any leaflets and adverts and especially when talking to you…  Customers love to buy from someone who is really passionate about their product/service.

You’d be amazed by how many different options there are to incorporate what you enjoy into a business – sport for example – if you are really passionate about sports then options range from everything from coaching children football to having a sports blog which also offers advertising opportunities, to a local sports publication to an online store selling sports products to putting together sporting events….the options are endless……

The first step in finding your niche is therefore to make a list of everything that you are interested in, enjoy and/or would like to learn about.  For the moment, don’t focus on whether you think these are things you could make money from – just list everything you can think of.

To get you started here’s some ideas….

Sports, crafts, childcare, working with children, parenting, drawing, languages, travel, films/movies, admin, hair and beauty, fitness, nutrition, flowers, parties, writing, helping people, cleaning, teaching others, numbers, cooking, baking, computers, fabrics, history, dance, cars, carpentry, driving, diy, fashion, books, health, gardening, gaming, internet, science…..

You now need to write a second list of all your skills and things you know a lot about – even if you’re thinking that you don’t have any skills give it a go….these can be skills that you’ve picked up during your working life to date – things that you’ve taught yourself or just something that you’re good at.

Your list could include…

Typing, talking to people, empathizing with people, teaching people, working with your hands, problem solving, driving, learning new skills, working with children, selling, organising, motivating people, administration, working with animals, maths, creative writing, design, persuading people, managing people, attention to detail, dancing…..

Sometimes it’s tricky to see the wood from the trees.  If you’re really not sure what you’re good at – why not ask your family, friends and any existing or previous colleagues?

2)   Refine your lists

Now take a good look at the list of your interests and rearrange it into an order of how much you enjoy those things – with the things you are most passionate about at the top.

Now, take the top 3 of those things and combining them with the things you’ve written in your skills list come up with as many job titles/descriptions/company ideas as you can think of.  No matter how daft they may seem – or how much they do or don’t appeal to you – write them down.  This process should get the ideas flowing.  Hopefully the result should be that you have a bit of a eureka moment and hit upon an idea or two that you feel quite excited about.  Don’t worry if the perfect idea doesn’t come to you right away – carry the lists around with you over the course of a day or two and keep adding to them – you’ll get there!

A good way of coming up with even more ideas is to put an item off your first list and something from your second list into Google to see what websites pop up.

3)  Can your idea become a profitable business?

For each of the ideas you’re excited about you need to ask 5 questions:

  • Is it something that people, other than you, are interested in/passionate about?
  • Do people spend money on it?
  • Would it solve a problem for someone or make their lives easier?
  • Is it something that would make people happy?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then you have a solid potential business idea!

4) Developing your ideas

You now need to start developing your ideas further.  First off write each idea on the top of a fresh piece of paper.  On each page draw a line vertically and horizontally down and across the page to separate it into 4.  In the top left box write ‘who’, in the top right write ‘what’, bottom left write ‘how’ and bottom right write ‘?’.

In ‘who’ – jot down the type of people or businesses that might be interested in the product/services.  Their age, sex, interests, type etc.

In ‘what’ – write individual words or short sentences describing the product or service you have in mind.

In ‘how’ – put where your clients might be – local, online, global

In ‘?’ – make a note of any and all questions that you can think of that you need to know the answers to

This process should really get the juices flowing and get you thinking in more detail about your ideas.

5) The research

While it would be lovely to think that every idea can be turned into a profitable business, unfortunately that’s just not the case.  So many people start a business ‘on a whim’ without doing any research at all beforehand – only to discover after weeks…sometimes months of work – and often a considerable amount of money – that their idea really doesn’t have legs.

The next step therefore is to take the idea/s you’ve been thinking about in point 3 and look into them a little further.

It’s a great idea to get other people’s opinion on your ideas.  Ask friends and family their thoughts.  You could also post on social media either on your profile – or within local groups.  One of my clients last year was thinking about starting a business delivering puddings and deserts to the local area.  We decided to measure the interest in this idea before we pursued it further and posted on as many local selling groups on Facebook as we could find asking locals if this would be something that they’d be interested in – and in fact what their favorite pudding is.  The feedback was overwhelming and his business has had an amazing launch.

Don’t be put off if you get the odd negative comment – at this point you are just putting feelers out as you haven’t fully developed your ideas.

You should also use the internet to research other companies who may offer a similar service – both locally and further afield.  Look at how long they’ve been trading – what looks good about what they offer?  Are they on Facebook?  What are people saying about them?

All this information should point you in the direction of which idea is likely to be most successful.  And if after going through this process you feel that these ideas aren’t so great after all – don’t panic…and don’t give up!  Go back to your lists and look again – your niche IS in there waiting for you to find it!

If you really are stuck and feel you need some help, I offer a range of packages where I can support you in starting a business from concept on wards.  Have a look around my website to see what is available.

6)  The Next Step

Once you have an idea for a business that you really like…and you’ve done the research to feel pretty confident that it’s worth pursing….then it’s time to get excited!  It looks like you’ve found your niche! Congratulations!

No doubt you’re aware that there is a huge amount of work to be done to turn that idea into a profitable business but it’s an exciting road ahead.

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