I get to meet amazing people from all walks of life. Some people love what they do, some know a lot about what they do, some are very good at it, and some are great in communicating that to other who do not have their level of knowledge in a way that is not only easy to understand and inspiring.
Alastair Morrison is such a man. I recently asked Alastair, who specializes in helping business owners and MDs run more effective businesses, to help me streamline particular areas of my business. I was so impressed by his insight and understanding that I’ve asked his permission to re-publish 4 articles he wrote to help grow business, titled,
- Working On (not In) Your Business
- Do you know who your ideal clients/customers are?
- The Law of the Mind
- Where do you most need to focus your marketing attention?
Do you know who your ideal clients/customers are?
Who is your ideal client/customer? Or, in other words, which clients/customers do you want to be targeting?
The first question you may ask is why do I need to know this? It is very tempting to cast your net as wide as possible, out of a fear of missing out on potential business. But this usually results in a loss of focus and you end up being just another generalist. In this increasingly competitive world, I believe that being a generalist, working for anyone who’ll pay you (the shotgun approach), can be dangerous. I would therefore urge people to consider choosing a limited number of niches and to work on becoming known as a specialist in those areas. Apart from being able to work with your ideal clients, you will probably find that you still receive plenty of “general work” – as a result of your specialist reputation, not in spite of it. Once you have your chosen niche(s), all your marketing effort can be focused for maximum effect. In addition, your service delivery can be tailored to deliver outstanding service and support to those clients/customers, generating more repeat business and referrals, in turn reducing the need for time-consuming and/or costly marketing.
So how do you go about choosing which niche(s) to operate in? My own coach advocates looking at things from two distinct perspectives, firstly the market (is there a need and a demand for your product or service) and secondly from a personal perspective. From the market perspective, you need to be asking questions like, is there money in this niche and what are the margins like? Is this a growth area and what are the likely longer term trends? What is the competition like and are there already any dominant players in the niche? How location critical is the niche and are you correctly geographically located to serve it? Is this niche likely to offer good potential for repeat business or is there typically only a one-off purchase? And finally, is there not only money in the sector, but importantly a willingness to pay for such a service?
The other series of questions you need to ask (all too often overlooked), revolves around your personal perspective. Firstly, what do you enjoy doing? What gives you a real buzz? What are your values and are these values typically widespread in your chosen niche? We perhaps all have experience of working with clients/customers who, when they telephone, give us that sinking feeling. How many more clients do you want like this?
Once you have identified your possible niches, you need to first test if there is both a real need and a demand. Speak to existing and/or prospective clients to gauge their reactions and interest. A good question to ask existing clients is – what do they value most about what you do for them? You may find the answers open up some very interesting new doors.
Finally, coming back to where we started. If you have too many niches, say four plus, you may be in danger of being seen as a generalist. There is, however, no harm in having more than one niche and indeed finding one that fulfils all your criteria (market and personal) may be difficult. You must though have a minimum of one niche that fulfils the “has money and is willing to pay” criteria!
Are you ready to become a specialist?
Click below to read the other parts of this series: