Originally published on June 7th, 2018. Updated for July 27th, 2021.
Maybe your business needs a boost. Maybe your dreams rise from wanting to start a small business. To find your place in the business world, you need to know how to find a niche in your industry. After all, we all want to be noticed, and succeeding in business means standing out.
Good news: The elusive niche is not found but created. With a few simple steps, you can identify what you are meant to do — in your business. A niche is a place where your passions meet the needs of a specific group of people, making everyone happy.
A service you specialize in — one that mainstream providers and your competitors fail to offer — becomes your niche. While your industry is the same, your service or product addresses the specific needs of your client group in a unique way.
Read on to discover the why and how of finding a niche.
Why Identify a Niche
With the unending details, decision-making, and planning of a business, you might wonder why you need to identify a niche. Why take the time to act on this buzzword? It turns out, you do not have time to skip this step. A niche provides you with two bits of help:
Identifying a niche you are passionate about keeps you energized. Imagine doing what you love, helping others in a way that excites you, and getting financially rewarded. It also motivates you to stick it out when trials and the nitty-gritty of business ownership threaten to undo you.
By naming a niche, the overwhelming business world gets smaller. A niche focuses your attention on a specific group of people with a specific need. This focus makes it easier to identify partners and clients, become an expert, build referrals and fine-tune marketing efforts.
How to Find a Niche
Personal reflection, industry insight, and research give you answers to, “What is my niche?” A year of soul searching promises answers. But, do not fear. Four simple steps explain how to find a niche — with a little soul searching but less time.
1. Know Your Audience
If you already own a business or identified the audience you want to reach, this target offers clues to your niche. By studying clients, leads, and target audiences, you get a picture of their needs and wants. Their questions and searches hint at their desires and problems.
Begin with these questions:
- What questions does your audience ask on forums, like Quora?
- What keyword searches top their lists according to Google Trends or AdWords?
- What survey results do you get on social media when you ask their greatest challenge?
2. Know Your Passions
The longevity of your business rests in part on your passion for what you do. As humans, we stick with the activities we love. Finding a niche that speaks to your interests also suggests you do it well, develop thoughts around it, and are eager to gain more knowledge about it.
To identify your passion, ask yourself:
- What would you do if time and money did not limit you?
- What subjects get you reading, researching, and learning?
- What problems of your audience draw you to give an answer?
3. Know Your Competition
If the group’s needs and your passion equal a service that currently saturates the market, your success proves limited. Curating high-quality content where low-quality flourishes helps and builds your audience. Developing an authentic presence in an impersonal market gets you noticed. Highly searched keywords that lack competition for solutions offer an opportunity to thrive.
Study your competition to determine your unique offerings:
- What gaps exist between audience problems and your competitor’s solutions?
- What unique offer enables you to differentiate yourself?
- What niche allows you to stand out from the crowd?
4. Know Your Potential
Calculating the needs of your audience with your passions and the gaps left by your competitors may still leave you coming up short. Not all great ideas prove profitable. Research and test your niche ideas for viability in the marketplace.
Research the potential of your niche ideas with questions like:
- Can money be made in the niche you are considering?
- Can your product or service be monetized (or is this why the competition wanes)?
- Can you price your product to be competitive while turning a profit?
If you answer “yes” to these questions, test your idea. Survey your social media audience to see if the product or service interests them. Use a landing page with advertising to find out if consumers bite.
When You Find Your Niche
Finding your niche feels like a lightbulb going on. The illumination keeps you working with energy for a while. But remember, the light eventually goes out. It needs renewed energy or something new altogether.
Once you identify your niche, get excited and work like crazy. And, stay flexible. With your eyes open to opportunities and ears listening to client feedback, fine-tuning your niche marketing remains an ongoing process of discovery. And, energy keeps you moving forward.
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