Some entrepreneurs seem to never make a mistake.
It’s as if everything they touch turns to gold.
Their customers love them. They’re eager to scoop up whatever these business owners have to offer.
You look at them and want that same magic touch with your business.
Fortunately for you, you can have it.
And it starts with making the right choice with your niche.
Your niche is like the perfect pair of shoes
Imagine for a moment that you’re on your way to run a 5K. As you’re getting all suited up and ready to begin your journey to the finish line, you put on a pair of stilettos and dash out the door to get going.
At the 1K mark your doing a-ok.
At the 2K mark, your feet start to hurt.
At the 3K mark your feet and back are cursing you and urging you to get rid of those wretched high heels.
Before you hit the 4K mark, you officially give in and call it a day.
On the painful walk back home, you bump into a friend and tell him the story of what just happened. He looks at you with a blank stare and asks why you didn’t just put on a pair of running shoes to complete the 5K.
While I hope this is a scenario you never find yourself in, it brings with it an important lesson.
Choosing the wrong niche is like putting on a pair of stilettos to run a 5K.
If you don’t choose the right footwear to get you to your goal, you may have a miserable journey. You may not even finish. Choose the right footwear, and you could sail through to the finish line.
The same goes for your business. If you don’t choose the right niche, your journey to success could be painful. A wrong choice here could delay or even prevent you from reaching your goal. And that would suck.
Choosing the right niche, greatly improves your chances of success.
Why your niche has superpowers
It lays the foundation for everything else you do. It helps you determine which customers you’ll woo. What you’ll be good at. Where you focus your time and energy. And how you spend your money. It sets you up for a lot of good stuff in your business.
As important as choosing the right niche is, too many business owners make the wrong choice. This leads to a slippery slope of wrong decisions and detours that slows their progress to reaching their goals. It prevents them from having the magic touch.
So what do you do about it? How do you make sure you aren’t making unnecessary mistakes when it comes to your all important niche?
Take a look at the list below for these common errors. And if you find you’re guilty of one of the them, don’t beat yourself up. Now you know (and knowing is half the battle). Then go fix it.
1. Not putting in the work
You’ve got to spend time, especially in the beginning thinking about and defining what it is your business does. What is it you are in the business of? What is it you do for your customers.
Peter Drucker, the father of modern-day business management, put it this way:
That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important single cause of business frustration and business failure.
But he didn’t stop there:
Conversely, in outstanding businesses such as Procter & Gamble and Toyota, success always rests to a larger extent on clearly and deliberately raising the question, ‘What is our business?’ and answering it thoughtfully and thoroughly.
As you think through what your mission and resulting niche will be, you should think through what others who are also serving your customers are doing. Will you help your customers in the same way? What makes you different from the others in how you serve them?
2. Wooing everyone and their mama
When it comes to figuring out who your business will serve, there is great danger in trying to serve too broad an audience. That doesn’t work so well. By making the target too large, it gets really tough to serve any one type of customer well.
You’ve got to be specific. You’ve got to be focused. You’ve got to be detailed. This will help you get the results you seek.
Let’s say you’ve got these super tasty recipes and you want to make them available to your customers. Everyone has to eat, so it may be tempting to define your niche as “cooking”. Unfortunately, that’s way too broad.
There are tons and tons of people out there touting recipes and it would be challenging for you to stand out. You want to be specific enough in defining your business so you can find the right audience. You also want your ideal audience to be able to find you.
A much more focused way to define your niche would be to say its “gluten free cooking,” or “organic cooking,” or even “asian cooking.”
One additional danger in defining your niche too broadly is in trying to cram too many things into one business. For instance, you’ve got these great recipes, but you’re also really good at teaching guitar. It would be tough for you to create a business that serves both customers who are looking for new recipes and learning how to play guitar.
The cooking customers may be confused by the guitar lessons and vice versa. And it might be tough to find enough customers who are interested in both at the same time.
So if you really wanted to do both cooking and teach guitar, then its best to do it in two separate businesses.
3. Wining and dining a needle in a haystack
On the other end of the spectrum are those businesses who choose a niche thats way too small. This can set your business up for trouble if you don’t have enough potential customers to support keeping the lights on.
In keeping with the cooking example, if you wanted to focus your efforts on recipes for grilled beans, you may run into an issue. Grilled beans may be delicious. And you may be super awesome at creating recipes for them.
But your business won’t survive if there aren’t enough people out there interested in recipes for grilled beans.
4. Not marrying for love
Building a business is tough. And it requires a whole lot of your time. So make sure you pick something you actually enjoy doing. Better yet, pick something you love.
That way, when the going gets tough, it makes it easier to continue pushing forward. Because you’re doing something you love. Something that adds value to your life. Something that brings you joy.
5. Not becoming a geek
It is essential to learn everything you need to know about your niche. You’ve got to learn as much as you possibly can about it. You’ve got to be a geek about it. You’ve got to be fanatical about it.
That way you are in the know about what worries your customers have, best practices, tools of the trade, and how to be successful. You’ll even pick up on what pitfalls to avoid. When you are in the know about new trends and how your customers’ needs evolve, you can plan and adjust accordingly.
Note that there are things you may need to learn about how to be successful in your niche that are unrelated to the core of what you do. If you are a chef that focuses on gluten free recipes, you may decide to get your recipes out to your customers via a blog. If so, you’ll need to learn all the ins and outs of running a successful blog in addition to being a gluten free cooking genius.
6. Staying stuck in high school
Your customers evolve. Although their needs may remain the same, the way in which they get those needs met may be different.
As a business owner who is serving a particular customer group, it is good for you to have a very firm pulse on what your customers need from you. You also need to recognize as soon as possible how your business may need to evolve to continue to be the one to serve and meet your customers’ needs.
So let’s say you provide a bunch of gluten free recipes for your customers. But then you recognize that your customers love having the recipes, but don’t always have time to prepare them.
That’s when you may decide to open a gluten free restaurant in your local area. You may even decide to franchise it once it starts doing really well.
Just because your niche starts out very focused, doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and expand what you offer at a later point once your business is ready.
If slightly expanding your niche will help you serve your customers better, and if you are able to do it well, consider going for it.
7. Not taking a time out
When you get in a groove working in your business, it can be very easy to get caught up doing all kinds of activities. How you actually spend your time can often morph into something totally different from how you want to spend your time.
That’s why it is super important to revisit your choices with regard to your niche at regular intervals to ensure your activities, your focus, and your resources are all working toward the same goal. You don’t want to be spread too thin by devoting resources to other unrelated areas.
If you find you are stretched a little too far, the time you set aside to evaluate your choices is a great opportunity to regroup and reset. There is no harm in adjusting your strategy, abandoning an earlier decision, or reframing your target if it will help to advance your business in your stated niche.
Time to work on your magic touch
Your customers are waiting. They are waiting for you to solve their problem like no one else can.
By making the right choices with regard to your niche, you’ll set yourself up to make a series of right decisions to give your business that magic touch it needs.
So if you’ve made any of the mistakes listed above, just go ahead and fix them. Don’t wait.
To get you started, identify one thing you need to work on when it comes to your niche. Let me know what that is in the comments below.
And if you’ve already made some necessary adjustments to your niche that’s helping you have the magic touch, let me know in the comments too. We’d all like to celebrate with you.