Is Having A Niche A Myth?
This is a question I often found myself asking, especially at the founding of the business. To me, niching down to a specific industry was not necessary and could even be damaging to my business.
Why set a limit on who to sell my services to?
Why alienate any gender by targeting my services towards female entrepreneurs or young couples?
Now being at this stage of my business, I understand the true meaning and benefit of selecting a niche. Instead of echoing articles that you have read online, I thought I would share with you our experience of finding a niche for KOVA Collective.
This may be an unpopular opinion but I am glad that I did not niche my business when it first started. Here's why:
Having fun. I find that starting a new business is one of the most exciting experiences one can have in life. So I took this opportunity to do what sparks joy in me rather than immediately targeting a specific clientele that would pay for my services. (because there will be a lot of time in the future to complete work in exchange for money)
No idea where to start. When I first started, I had no idea where to begin. There are a total of 69 - 158 industries in the world, which can be really daunting to just select one out of the many. What if that one industry that I committed to is uninterested in my services?
Needed a small win. With the combination of completing passion projects and keeping my appeal to the general market, I was quickly able to secure my first client. I couldn't have imagined what operating for months without securing a client would have done to my mental health. After securing my first client, subsequent projects came rolling in. Before I knew it, I was managing a sizeable portfolio.
With a sizable portfolio, I was able to identify some commonalities among my clients which allowed me to start developing a niche.
Before I carry on any further, let me clarify the meaning of niche from a marketing standpoint. After viewing many Instagram businesses, I realise that many business owners fail to understand what niching down actually means!
After some research, I realised that there are some components to a good niche:
Clients identify themselves with the niche
Specialised service or expertise
A high number of businesses operating in this niche
With this in mind, niches like "heart-centered, purpose-driven businesses" are not a niche. Many online business owners are making this mistake because they often do not have their ideal clients in mind. This niche might sound good, but are your clients really identifying themselves as a "purpose-driven" business? If so, how is a "purpose-driven" business different from an ordinary business, aren't all businesses driven by a... purpose?
As contradictory as it sounds, it is often these same businesses that are stressing the importance of niching down!
How can you niche down?
Now that I have defined what a niche is and the factors to consider for a good niche, let me share with you how you can find your own niche based on our experience and some articles.
According to Forbes and our own experience, we started this discovery by asking ourselves who we want to work with. In other words, without any consideration of cost or money, who are your dream clients? There is a reason why you chose to start your own practice - you wanted to pursue your passion. So by starting your discovery process with this question, it ensures that you don't lose sight of your why and avoid burnout in the future.
Next, you're going to review your existing clientele and your dream clients. Do they have anything in common? With this step, you're essentially looking for a niche that you are personally invested in, and one that is able to pay you the rates you deserve!
Finally, it is meant to be uncomfortable and there will be multiple rounds of revisions. At KOVA Collective, we were not immediately sold on the idea of providing branding and organic marketing solutions to hospitality businesses but it was the result of constantly questioning the viability of our selected niche. Questions like "Will this niche need our services?" will push you to the edge. This discomfort is where revolutionary niche ideas are created.
How would that look like for a hospitality brand?
For example, you're a tour operator curating the best experience of a particular destination. But like any destination, it has a large variety of activities that may interest some groups of individuals more than others.
By positioning yourself as a honeymoon tour operator you'll have a clearer direction of what experience to consider. Like, opting for a romantic sunset yacht instead of whitewater rafting.
Also, your copywriting and advertising campaigns will not feature headlines with keywords like "all-inclusive family fun" but "exclusive private experience". These clearer directions achieved by niching down will allow you to start getting leads that convert into sales.
Nobody achieves a dream from the comfort of certainty
Whether you're an online business owner or a hospitality brand, niching down is going to be difficult but it will be worth it.