Choosing your niche hurts

With hurt I don’t mean hurt you financially, because a well picked niche will just boost your business. What I mean is selecting your niche and stick with it, is a proces that really hurts. Why is that?

Doesn't Hurt,,,, yea right

Talking with (potential) clients about their online marketing strategy I see a lot of missed opportunities. Why do I recognize it so well? I have the same problems.

Your Clients and services

You started your own business. Clients were happy with what you did and recommended you to their network. New clients came from that network and you followed up and started working for them. Your clients also asked you to do another project that is close to your current expertise.

Over time you grew a clients list with a variety of markets and business sizes. The kind of services or products that you offer mirrors this variety in clients. Every time a project is done you will have to find new clients.

This is not what you want. You want, if you are just a little bit like me, that clients come to you. You want to attract clients. If you are not clear in your communication who that client is, they will not come to you. If you are not clear in what you do for your clients, they will find another company that does.

I talk with independent professionals about what they do. Often I get a short and sometimes a long story of what they do. The story is based on all the stuff they have done or are still doing for their clients. When I dig deeper we talk about target clients this often is also a list of various branches sometimes they even say “Everyone”.

When you really want to attract clients it is extremely important that you have a laser focus on what you do and for whom.

Loss Aversion

There are plenty of smart people online that will tell you to pick a niche. There are even books on that. What they don´t tell you is that when you already have a business, this is a really difficult process.

It is so difficult because you have to stop doing some or maybe even most of the stuff that you are doing today. You will have to say goodbye to some of your clients and to some of the markets that you are in now.

For my next book I am doing some research on why this is such a difficult process. And why I get tons of excuses why they don´t need to do this now. It is good to understand that there is a part of your brain that is giving you such a hard time. This is the Amygdala (Wikipedia)

This part of the brain is responsible for your Loss Aversion (Wikipedia).

Loss Aversion generates a feeling that you want to keep what is ‘yours’. When making your niche smaller, your aversion to loss wants you to keep all your current clients, services and markets. Even if they do not generate money.

Then you come up with all these great excuses “What if there are not enough clients in that one niche?” or “I am not good enough to be an expert in this area” or “I will get bored if I will focus on this niche.” Yes, I have heard them all. Yes, I even used some of these.

Pick your niche

Do you want to attract clients?
Then it is time to focus and pick your niche, choose your target audience, choose your services and choose your specialty.

Now you understand why it is so difficult and where this feeling is coming from. Accept the pain and continue.

Or like Ittybiz (Naomi) says:

If you pick a niche, you lose some customers. If you don’t pick a niche, you lose ALL customers.

Do you know that feeling of being afraid to really cut drastically in your markets and services? Share it with us. If you have picked your niche successfully I love to hear it in the comments.

Creative Commons License photo credit: LadyDragonflyCC -August is Canning Month

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.