Unearth Your Niche in 5 Steps

Struggling to grow your business? It’s time to niche.

In an era where you can be anything… don’t. Focussing on becoming a specialist, rather than a generalist gives your business the opportunity to serve a well-defined niche within an industry vertical. You will be strategically poised to demand a larger multiple – a prime position that will allow you to scale faster.

The Problem

Standing out in a sea of sameness is one of the biggest challenges you face right now.

Gov.uk statistics show that between 500,000 – 700,000 new start-ups are launched in the UK every year. The UK’s gig economy is undergoing a radical change too, with latest figures showing 2.2 million freelancers ready to deliver services quickly and inexpensively. Cutting through all this noise is becoming increasingly harder.

You’re fishing for new business in a fairly small pond.

In the UK market as a whole, only 1% of businesses are classed as large (250+ employees) and 99% are SMEs (under 250 employees). Out of those SME businesses, 96% are classed as micro (under 9 employees) and over half of those are one person businesses. With the majority of B2B businesses targeting under 4% of the market, the competition is BIG.

There’s been a seismic shift in the B2B buyer/seller paradigm.

An overwhelming majority (89%) of B2B researchers use the internet in their research process and they conduct 12 searches prior to engaging with a specific brand’s site. B2B customers today progress more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before ever engaging a sales representative. If you’re solely relying on face-to-face meetings to make clear your position and value, then you’re missing out on the party.

The Solution

The simple answer is to niche.

Unless you’ve got DEEP pockets for your marketing budget, it’s time to stop trying to attract anything and time to start focusing on cornering a slice of the market you can own. A good way to visualise creating a niche is going ‘an inch wide and a mile deep’. Whether you’re an ambitious entrepreneur growing a start-up or an established business that’s looking to scale, the more laser-focused you are on a niche, the easier it is to succeed.

Five Steps to Unearth Your Niche

This is my practical framework for to unearth your value.

If you’re starting a business the best way to follow this framework is to look back at your career. If you’re an established business with previous clients, you’ll find this an easier process.

Step 1: The Industry

Looking at your previous list of clients, write down the industry that each one sits within. This could be multiple so don’t over think it and write out all the applicable categories and sub categories.

Step 2: The Business

Look at each individual client, start to pull out data points on revenue, employees and location. Also take into account the types of businesses or customers they serve, the services they offer and their individual points of difference.

Step 3: The Customer

Who is the customer that buys your services within those businesses? For example, what are their job titles and roles? Dig a little deeper, what are the types of objectives or challenges they were facing when they reached out to you.

Step 4: The Solution

Looking back, which services or products did you use with that specific client. What features helped them either realise their ambitions or solve their problems? What benefits did they receive after you finished helping them?

Step 5: The Commonalties

Once you have created all of these different points for each of your clients, it’s time to find the commonalties. I like to use a technique called Affinity Mapping to help sort and group each of these. This helps to join the dots and find relationships in all the data points produced from previous clients.

Next Steps

Once you’ve segmented each client, it’s time to choose the most desirable data points to help form your niche.  This in turn will help produce your target ideal customer profile, as well as inform your value proposition and positioning statements.

If you are about to take on the challenge of generating your own new business leads and would like to discuss how I can help, get in touch for an informal chat.

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