There are a LOT of different ways to define what a business’ niche is.
First, as a premise, a natural business is one that is designed to support your unique gifts.
So any exploration of niche, which is the foundation of your business, has to include a conversation about your unique gifts and how you can use those gifts to solve a problem for people.
As far as a definition, I’ll offer my nature-based view on the topic, and then show you how clarifying a specific niche provides you with the essential foundation upon which you can build a successful business.
In ecology, a niche can be defined this way:
A niche is the role and position of a species in its environment.
This pretty much covers it, but I’ll extrapolate into human beings and businesses, because unlike a plant or non-human animal, you actually have quite a bit of choice about your role and position in your environment!
Your niche has four parts, divided into Role and Position (as described in the ecological defintion):
- Your Role is composed of two parts:
- What problem do you solve using your unique gifts? Get specific here! People pay you because they want you to help them solve a problem.
- Who do you solve it for, specifically (like so specific you could go out and find them)?
- Your Position, or what I like to call your Special Sauce is also composed of two parts:
- How you solve this problem? What’s your unique system? How do you do it differently from others in your field?
- Why you solve this problem? Why the heck are you spending so much time and energy on this anyways? What do you stand for?
So Why Niche?
Getting clear on all of these things makes your business stand out. It gives people something to grab on to. It makes you memorable instead of just another practitioner.
It let’s them say, “Oh, you should totally call Leah, she’ll help you raise the money for your business in 5 minutes flat!” Or, “You have to see Kelly if your low back pain is still not going away… she uses this crazy dual body-mind system that totally changed my life.” Or, “Julie is totally your woman if you want to grow your business in a way that feels natural and fun instead of forced and rigid.”
And that my friends, is another definition of a niche… something you are known for.
A note… while you do need some clarity on all parts, each business will focus a little more on one or two than the others, and that’s fine. But, the more specific you are on all of them, the better.
I Know, Niching Can Be Scary.
People often fear niching, because they feel that it narrows down by too much the number of people they will be able to work with, and then they won’t find enough clients.
But the truth is, niching actually helps your perfect, right clients find you more easily because your business is pointing right at them.
- Your message (how you talk about your work) and brand (the visual representation of your business) flow easily from a well-defined niche.
- Marketing is easier because you know where to find your people and what to say to them.
- Sales in the traditional sense becomes almost obsolete because it’s really about finding people who are the right fit, not convincing the wrong people with icky sales tactics.
This all leads to a healthier, more successful business where you are doing your best work for the people you are best equipped to help.
And as scary as it might seem, it actually feels so good and right when you find your niche… because it’s really just another version of finding your purpose.
And remember, niching, as with everything in business, is an iterative process. As growing, evolving humans, we will never stop learning and adapting to new information and honing in on our natural genius.
So put something out there, and see what happens. You’ll learn a ton about your niche simply from testing something out.