What is a Niche in business?
Heard the term niching, but not sure what it really means?
A niche in business is a marketing strategy. It means that a business focuses its marketing efforts on serving a specific segment of the overall market ("the market" being everyone who could possibly need or want their product or service).
In other words, a niched business will not try to serve everyone, rather they will cater their products, services, and advertising to a smaller portion of the population.
Why serve a smaller portion of the market?
But why wouldn't a business just be open to anyone and everyone? Surely that's a better approach, yes?
Not always. You see, if a business that provides photographic services were to market themselves to anyone and everyone, think about the problems that would arise. Offering all types of photography (wildlife, commercial, aerial, wedding, newborn...) it would get very expensive to get all the equipment needed, bookings would be a nightmare, and the photographer wouldn't know where to start when promoting their services.
So would it be better for the photographer to focus on one area of specialisation? Absolutely! Unless she lives in a small country town without enough clients needing the specialised service but that's another blog topic altogether.
When a business can cater its services or products to a small group of people who have something in common, their messaging connects on a deeper level, they can become more proficient in serving those people.
The opposite of someone who has a niche is a generalist. A generalist is somebody who, in a service based business, offers a broad range of services to a range of different people. On the contrary, someone who has a niche will offer specialised services to a more narrow audience.
Niched business is a specialist
Our clients need us because they're experiencing a problem they need solving.
That problem could be a lack of something (time, skill, equipment) or too much of something (stress, workload) or they want to feel something (results, emotions, status).
Our services bring that solution. For example, consider a Bookkeeper who is approached by a stressed out photographer who is trying to get on top of her accounts. The photographer needs to spend her time booking shoots, editing images, and networking. She doesn't have the skill needed to manage her books, nor does she enjoy it, and it's piling up.
She is stressed and burnout (the problem). The Bookkeeper can rescue her by cleaning up her accounts, and taking care of entering the transactions into her accounting software ready to send to the Accountant (the solution).
Imagine that photographer was looking for a bookkeeper. With bookkeeping being a highly saturated industry, the bookkeeper needs to stand out from the rest. How does she do this?
She could specialise in working with freelance photographers who lack the skill or interest to manage their books. She knows exactly what a photographer would need from her bookkeeper, enabling her to get started with minimal explanation. And they can bond over their shared love of photography! Match made in Heaven.
So what happened here?
The bookkeeper's specialisation (niche) made her the clear choice for the photographer. It was easy to sell herself to a person who needed her.
Service-Based Business: What does a Niche look like?
Let's take a look at some different service businesses to see what a niche looks like.
If you're a photographer you could be considered a generalist or a specialist. If you take any type of picture for any type of client, then you’re a generalist. If you focus on taking photographs for a specific type of client, setting, style, or a combination of those, then that area of specialty is your niche.
Some examples of photography niches include:
- Wedding photographer
- Newborn photographer
- Wildlife photographer
- Sports/action photographer
- Branding photographer
Let's look at a web designer. A generalist web designer builds websites on various platforms, for various types of people. A niched web-designer on the other hand, may focus on working with clients in a particular platform like WordPress or Shopify. Or they may focus on helping a specific industry. Web-design is a creative service, so the designer's style could impact who they attract.
There are various ways to niche your services, to learn more you might like to read this article next.
A business with a niche aims to serve a specific portion of the population because it can allow them to become specialised in what they do, be more selective with who they work with, and attract a higher fee for their specialisation.
It is the opposite to a generalist service which will offer a variety of services to a wider range of people.
About the author
Michelle is a chocoholic, stationery obsessed Business Coach from the seaside town of Mandurah, WA. She specialises in working with Virtual Assistants and B2B service providers, helping them to grow a fulfilling, sustainable and profitable home-based business.
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