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Article Teaser: This morning I was working with a client who was feeling some frustration around defining the niche for their business: "Why is picking a niche so hard?" my client wanted to know.

Keep reading below...

Why Ker-chunk Needs to Proceed Ker-ching

Copyright (c) 2010-2017

This morning I was working with a client who was feeling some frustration around defining the niche for their business:

  • it started as "small business coaching"...

  • got a little more specific as "small 'green' business coaching"...

  • took a 180-degree turn to non-profit organization coaching...

  • and turn another 180-degrees back to "small business coaching

  • "Why is picking a niche so hard?" my client wanted to know.

    ============================================
    Choosing a Niche for Your Business Can Be Really Hard
    ============================================

    My client isn't alone. In fact she has excellent company: like me.

    Yes, even marketing "experts" like yours truly can struggle with saying who they help.

    In my case, selecting a niche has been an 8-year process and in all honesty I still squirm a little when I have to tell people who I work with.

    For a long time I told people I was a "small business marketing coach." More often then not this would get a response like "So what is it that you do?"

    And I'd babble on and on about developing marketing messages and setting up marketing systems and revenue streams and so on.

    If the other person was polite they'd try to figure out whether what I was talking about would be helpful to them in some way. If the other person was not so polite, they were already getting a drink at the bar.

    Being a marketing person you'd think I'd know better. You'd think I would know that the first step for effective marketing is to choose a niche.

    But I just couldn't do it even as I told my clients that's what they needed to do.

    ============================================
    What Enabled Me to Finally Step Forward
    ============================================

    A couple years ago, I was attending a business seminar to learn about how to put the pieces in place needed to create a sustainably profitable business.

    We were doing a role play in which we were have a challenging conversation with another person. The idea was to use what we had learned about ourselves and our business as a foundation to deal with difficult situations.

    My dreaded situation was when someone would ask "So what is it exactly that you do?" And my partner looked me in the eye and asked me "So Judy, what exactly is it that you do."

    I paused for a second and listened to my heart and blurted out, "I love you and your business so that your customers can know about you and love you too."

    Inelegant, not your typical 60-second elevator pitch but my partner smiled at me and said, "Wow, I really felt that. I wouldn't hesitate to hire you."

    That was when things went "Ker-chunk" for me and for prospective clients.

    Because the truth of the matter is, for me, marketing is about love. More specifically, marketing is about communicating what you love to do and how you love to help people because when your ideal customers feel that sincerity in their hearts --- it's easy to say "yes."

    Customers saying, "yes" is the Ker-ching.

    ============================================
    Keys for Getting to Ker-chunk
    ============================================

    Knowing how tricky it is to name your niche, here are some keys to make the process easier.

    #1. Manage the Risk

    One thing we forget is that no one is carving your niche definition in stone.

    There's no rule saying Thou shalt not change thy niche.

    You can change your niche.

    But I'm going to qualify this by saying, you must make some kind of commitment around how long you'll work in your niche. A commitment of six months to a year.

    Again, not carved in stone. But it's a long enough time to know whether it feels like the right place for your business.

    #2. Make Sure Your Heart Has a Say in Selecting Your Niche

    For all of us, myself included, we tend to approach business decisions very logically. There are programs and spreadsheets where you can put in the pros and cons and get a recommendation for what to do.

    I'm going to suggest you use your reasoning abilities as one source of information and let your heart make the final vote.

    Why? Because I have made many, many business decisions in my career. When I based my decision purely on rational factors and my heart was waving a red flag that read, "Something about this doesn't feel right" I nearly always regretted my decision.

    Listen to your heart and your intuition. Take a break if you need to and quiet your thoughts. And then ask your heart, "is this true to my highest intentions?"

    Then listen and be willing to be surprised.

    #3. Your Niche Definition Has to Be Specific Enough for Customers to Know You're Talking to Them

    Another thing that makes business owners nervous is around specificity: how specific does their definition need to be?

    It feels like every qualifier you add: age, gender, attitudes, and so on is yet another obstacle to finding customers.

    My teacher, Mark Silver, has a great way to address this. He says, "your definition only needs to be specific enough so that your ideal customers recognize themselves when you tell people who you work with.

    I love Mark's definition of who he works with: "small business owners who want to make a difference and need to make a profit."

    It's simple and yet anyone who is an ideal customer for Mark immediately feels like he's talking to them.

    ============================================
    Bottom Line
    ============================================

    Being specific is scary because it means taking a stand for what you do. And when you take a stand, sometimes people push back; they don't like your decision for whatever reason.

    But when you do articulate who you help and do so in a heart-felt way you allow customers to connect from a place of trust. You create a space for their hearts to settle into and to receive your support. Ker-chunk!

    And when the "ker-chunk" happens, prospective customers can open up and say, "Hey, I'm feeling like you can really help me with this problem. I'd like to hire you."

    Ker-ching!




    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" go to http://www.judymurdoch.com/workbook.htm
    You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@judymurdoch.com

    Follow "The Phantom Writers" on Twitter (@phantomwriters)
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    Internal ID: #7561
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