Whether you’re just starting your business or you’ve been around for some time, evaluating who makes up your target customer base is vital to your success. From the products or services you choose to offer to the way your website is set up to market to your customers, finding your niche is essential to building your brand, standing out from your competition and steering clear of wasteful advertising spending.
In 2006, Lisa Pozzoni hired a personal trainer to help her get fit and healthy. Along her journey, she decided she wanted to become a personal trainer and help others, too. After becoming certified she began working at a gym. The environment wasn’t exactly what she was looking for, so she struck out on her own and started Easy Fitness Solutions. Her business model was still rather broad, but she differentiated herself from other trainers by offering 1 on 1 and group training outside of a gym environment.
Soon she found a new passion: running. One step in finding your niche is to look for an area within your field where you have a true passion. The more passionate you are about your product or service and the people you serve, the more you’re able to focus your energies on putting your business in front of those customers.
“I started dabbling into running in 2008 and started doing Women Only Running Camps using the Pose Method”, explains Pozzoni. Her focus turned to marketing towards women who enjoyed the group aspect of a running camp and wanted to refine their running technique. But she didn’t stop there. “One of my personal training clients knew I had started running and gave me the ChiRunning book. I took the 4 hour workshop from the only ChiRunning Instructor in Arizona at the time. Since he was the only one, was male and lived in Tucson, I thought this would be another great service to offer to my personal training clients.” So in 2010, Lisa became the first female ChiRunning Instructor in Arizona and further drilled down her fitness services to focus on her new niche, ChiRunning.
So what’s next for Lisa? “Running and walking are part of fitness and I kept reading, from a marketing perspective, you can find the people that need you, the more you niche. It probably took me at least 6 months of brainstorming and masterminding to come up with my new business idea, strategy and name”, she explained. And so began the evolution of The Running University, Lisa’s new brand, launched February of 2014. “I still promote health and fitness but just have a stronger focus on walking and running now. I’m also in the middle of creating new email lists with my new e-book, 15 Simple Steps for the Beginner Beginner Runner, since not all my fitness people are interested in walking and running.”
As you can see from Lisa’s experience, finding her niche did not happen overnight and it probably won’t happen for you either. That’s why it’s important to remember to evaluate every 6 months or so if your business focus should stay the same or if it could use some fine tuning.
To help refine your own niche, start by making a list of reasons why you want to start your business (or what led you to start your own business). Try to be as specific as possible. “I want to help people” is too broad, so narrow it down to “I want to help women/men/mothers/teens”. Then look at where your experience already lies to narrow that list down even further. Do you have previous experience working with mothers? Was it working mothers, stay-at-home moms or new moms? Take a look at your product or service from their point of view, also. Try presenting it to your target group via a poll or sending out a questionnaire to an already established newsletter group. The time and effort you put into finding your unique niche will, in the long run, save you from spending valuable time and money on casting a large net to catch just a few customers and keep you on track to make your passion your business.