“When in doubt, overwhelm a small niche.”

Antilope in her niche

Niche (noun) /niCH/

1. A position or role taken by a kind of organism within its community. Such a position may be occupied by different organisms in different localities, e.g., antelopes in Africa and kangaroos in Australia.

2. A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.

I love the concept of finding your niche. It’s something that happens in nature all the time, as part of the evolution of healthy, balanced ecosystems.

But it is also a concept a lot of my clients struggle with.

You see, the people I work with have a strong drive to help. They are generous and open-minded people. Niching down to them sounds like excluding a lot of clients they could potentially serve. And they totally have the skills to serve a lot of different people.

So, why have a niche?

From the marketing perspective, the strongest argument is that identifying your niche will spark a lot of instant connections with potential clients and allies.

If you can say that you, for example, specifically serve families with young children on the autism spectrum, your whole marketing strategy can evolve organically from there. Parents who come to your website will immediately understand how you can help them (or someone they know), and other organizations and businesses will recognize you as a natural fit for their network.

Now, to address the risk of excluding people: For one, it’s really not as big as you think. The amazing thing is, people outside your niche will be drawn to you because of your niche, and of course you’re allowed to work with them, too.

And second, it’s just not realistic to think that you can serve everyone anyway. There are only so many hours in the day, and some people are just not a good fit for you or will go elsewhere for other reasons. You will overall be more helpful by focusing on the people you know you can serve best.

How big or small should your niche be? I’d say start very small – you can always grow or shift as your practice evolves. As always, Seth Godin says it well:

It’s entirely possible that you will choose a niche that’s too small. It’s much more likely you’ll shoot for something too big and become overwhelmed. When in doubt, overwhelm a small niche. ~Seth Godin

What niche will you serve overwhelmingly well?

{Photo by DeusXFlorida on Flickr.}

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