It may sound like a silly question, but it’s something that comes up at least twice a week for me in my coaching. Perhaps you’ve had this conversation yourself, with a fellow business owner. Or, it might be something you’re struggling with right now.
- Here’s the root thought:
“If I only talk about (market) what I love doing, I’m limiting myself and losing potential business.”
- Here are the symptoms:
This idea ends up looking like a laundry list of every service you’ve ever provided, can provide, are willing to provide, or might muddle through figuring out- if it would close the sale.
This sort of scattered, “do it all” mentality, in turn feeds all the squirrel, shiny object, “Oh, let me try this idea” syndromes lying just beneath the surface. Essentially, keeping you and your business spread in as many directions as you’re willing to offer. And, take it from an Atlanta girl, there is such a thing as too many directions in one place!
- With what result:
At best, you’re collecting a few clients here or there and they’re probably spread out across all the things you said you’d be willing to do.
Worst case scenario, you’re stuck and frustrated.
By the time prospects have come to me with this problem, they’ve usually thrown marketing dollars in about as many directions as you can imagine and been disappointed in the lack of results.
So, how do we turn business around?
“To Niche or Not to Niche that is the (dreaded) question”
Whether its “niching,” “identifying a target audience,” or “ideal client” this idea invokes fear in almost every entrepreneur I encounter.
Here’s some of the contributing factors:
- Hungry: This is usually the case with new entrepreneurs just starting out, but it isn’t limited to them. Taking the leap of faith and starting a business is one of the boldest moves someone can make. But faith doesn’t pay the bills.
So, out of a need to keep food on the table an entrepreneur begins spreading themselves out in order to close a sale. Any sale!
- Helper: You probably know at least one person like this. We love them. They’re beautiful human beings. These are the sort of people who agree to do something because they, technically, can. They want to help the person in front of them, so they agree to stretch what they’re offering in a direction that meets the prospects needs. These people are often the same ones who get trapped in a cycle of not getting paid what their worth, or in doing a lot of “favors.” But, that’s a different discussion.
- Overachiever: The overachiever is the sort of person who cringes at the thought of narrowing down who they’re audience is, because they simply are so talented. They feel they can help anyone and everyone. To limit their offerings or their focus would be a disservice to all the rest of the world…according to them. Know someone like this?
Regardless of the reasoning, the marketing results are the same. A marginal amount of success and a ceiling on continued growth.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Here are 3 tips to getting un-stuck in your marketing and business growth:
- Evaluate yourself.
Marketing is a lot like dating. You can’t go out into the world hoping to find “Mr. (or Miss) Right” until you understand who you are and what you’re looking for. So, take the time to look within and ask yourself a few questions.
- Why did you get into this business?
- What do you LOVE working on most?
- What service/package makes you the most money?
This exercise will help you reconnect with your passion and clear the way to look at the numbers.
- Look at the business.
If you’ve gotten used to being spread in multiple directions, deciding which one direction to choose can be difficult. Ask yourself a few questions about where the business is currently.
- What percentage of the business is large clients (enrolled in services or packages that make you the most money)?
- What percentage of the business are clients enrolled in other services?
- Which services/packages are being taken advantage of most?
- Look at the clients.
Profitable isn’t just about money. We’ve all had clients who paid the money but were a pain to work with. They almost weren’t worth the trouble. We want to work with clients that are fun for us and make us money! So, ask yourself:
- Who are my favorite clients?
- What do my favorite clients have in common? (Get creative, get personal. Do they all have a white car with a bumper sticker and two kids? Write it down!)
- What services are my favorite clients taking advantage of?
- What sort of people are taking advantage of my larger service/package?
Creating a marketing plan that works starts with understanding what you’re best at, what makes you the most money, and who you like to work with!
Contrary to common understanding, niching isn’t about picking out a group of people and throwing your marketing materials in their direction. Rather, it’s about recognizing what you do best and understanding who needs that most. When you approach marketing from this perspective it allows you to create quality content, programs and packages that offer value and appeal to these…wait for it…IDEAL CLIENTS!
These people are attracted to you because you’re using your platforms to showcase the very best of what you do. The very best in your client’s results. And, naturally when you do this, your own enthusiasm and passion will shine through- which also is attractive. I call this “Going for Gold.”
What does this mean in your business?
Just like dating, being attractive didn’t mean you only attracted “The One.” When you showcase, your awesomeness in personal life or business, people are naturally going to be drawn to you. Highlighting the things, you do well and focusing on the larger ticket items and best clients will attract more than just those “Gold” clients. But it will also bring in more Gold clients! And isn’t that what we all want? More of the big sales, great clients, fun and rewarding results!
Be afraid of the Niche, no more!
You have the map. Follow the money!