One of the most important business lessons I have learnt over the years and have subsequently tried to impart to my clients and Inner Circle Business Growth club members, is to have total clarity of your target market and what you have to offer. I have very bad memories of fumbling in the dark in the early days of being in business. Back then, I thought women were my niche… all women in business.
You too may have a fab service and be desperate to help your perceived market which will, for many of you, mean everyone and anyone, anywhere! My clients, who after all want to run more profitable businesses, don’t always come round to this idea straightaway. They fear that by ruling out the wider market, they will lose mass appeal and miss valuable opportunities.
If you are hoping to attract business by being a generalist, you can forget it – it won’t happen. Usually, the opposite is true! And besides, defining a tight niche won’t mean you can’t work outside that niche when the jobs come in. What you will find is that more work will come your way just because your messages are clear, easy to grasp and will be seen by the right people. This also makes it much easier for other people to give you effective referrals.
It may mean having a very specific message: Mine is that I actually work with busy female solopreneurs in their forties or fifties who are quite serious about growing their business. Many of them are mums who find it hard to focus or prioritise what matters, because they simply have too much to do and too little time in which to do it.
And I know how they feel because I’ve been there myself – busy, overwhelmed and with too much to juggle.
Once you are clear on WHO exactly you are able to help, you can fill in more detail, whether that’s gender, age, social standing, size of business or income level.
This will help you to avoid another classic mistake so many solopreneurs make (myself included): Broadcasting your message to the world as if on BBC world service, but with nobody listening. Sadly, without the specifics, you may as well give up.
Think of it this way: people buy different shoes for different purposes – hiking, shopping or clubbing, for example. There isn’t a generic shoe to suit all applications so there’s no point in attempting to be a ‘generic shoe’ for your area of business – instead of widening your net, you run the very real risk of attracting nobody.
So whether you’re a walking boot, a trainer, a slipper or a dancing shoe, make sure first you and then your potential clients know it!
About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King helps busy women to be well connected, visible, effective and profitable in business. Connect with her via Twitter, the Success Network Community on Linkedin, or Success Network Recipes on Facebook. Or sign up to the monthly newsletter at Success Network.