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Famous in your field tip: find your niche

Famous in your field tip: find your niche

Last week I met a business coach at a networking event. Now, a little background here: I’m a long-time teacher’s pet, so I like having answers at the ready whenever my fellow business owners have a question.

In my mind, I’m like an gunslinger in an old western:

Need a great manicurist? Pow, here’s the one!

Desperate for graphic design skills? Bang! Gotcha covered!

Which means that when I meet someone and find out what they do, I immediately called up my mental rolodex, ready to start the search for a good match to shoot their way.

“What’s your specialty? Do you coach businesses or individuals?” I asked.

Him: “I coach everyone.”

Me: “Really? Any type of business? You don’t have a specialty?”

Him: “Yes. Any type.”

Me: “Any issue or goal?”

Him: “Yep. Anything. I coach everyone.”

And that’s when the lid snapped shut on my mental rolodex. I got on my horse and rode away.

No one likes a generalist.

Think about it: do you want a generalist performing that quadruple bypass on you, or would you hold out for one of the country’s leading surgeons?

If you want to stand out in your industry, you’ve got to narrow your focus.

Develop marketing niches to target. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with clients outside the your selected niches, but it does mean that you concentrate your marketing efforts on a particular service, client type, issue or result. You give up the undefined, scattershot approach.

Business owners frequently shun naming specific niches or specialties, fearing that it will drive away prospects who don’t fit the targeted niche, but reality is counter intuitive: when an organization or an individual becomes known as the best in class for a particular niche, it creates higher level of interest and desire among non-target profile prospects as well. Crazy, huh?

Here’s what picking a niche can do for you:

1. Sharpens your focus.

By concentrating your marketing resources on specific niches, you can spend less money reaching the specific prospects who need your services. You’ll devote your marketing time and dollars to the activities, events, and organizations that fit your niche.

2. Increases your effectiveness.

By trying to reach a narrowly defined target client, with a service or specialty just for them, your message will break through the clutter and speak directly to that person. When you target the masses as your client base, you have a hard time differentiating yourself from others in your field. When you’re considered an expert or thought leader in a particular niche, you have stronger recognition and more credibility. Clients will seek you out.

3. Increases your revenue.

People pay more for specialized information. Being considered a “specialist” in a particular client type or industry allows an individual or organization to command higher fees for the greater perceived value. Experts are sought after, they get paid more, attract more media attention and get better results for clients (which generates more referrals, too.)

Best of all, you can expand your niche strategy as your business grows. Start out targeting one or two niches that you wish to dominate, and as you achieve authority status in those, you can add new and complimentary niches.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

Here’s an exercise to get your brain flowing on possible niches:

On a piece of paper, make three columns.

1. In the first column, list your services. What do you do? Write legal briefs? Run social media for people? Train dogs?

2. In the middle column, think hard about your clients and prospects. What consistent problems or challenges are lots of people having that you know how to solve. List a few issues that come up over and over, and (here’s the kicker) that you ENJOY tackling.

3. In the third column, you’ll develop your special twist: what trends or new developments are emerging that affect these services or clients? If you’re the social media guru, are you genius at turning your client’s existing content into exactly the right bite size pieces for each platform?

Once you’ve developed these three lists, spend some time thinking about ways that those three items – services, problems or challenges, and trends – intersect. What niches do you see?

Pow! You’re on your way to Big Time Fame, just by thinking a little smaller!


  1. Kelly on February 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Oh man… This one gets me every time. But I’m learning to be more specific which is also helpful in spotting people a mile away who you just know you can help!

  2. Lilia Lee on February 5, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Small is big in this instance. Thanks for the reminder, Lori.

  3. Emma on February 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    you rock kelly! great tips as usual!

  4. Emma on February 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    not sure who kelly is! :/
    your middle name? lol
    nice job. love the fame making tips.

  5. BizSugar.com on February 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    To get big, think small…

    No one likes a generalist. Think about it: do you want a generalist performing that quadruple bypass on you, or would you hold out for one of the country’s leading surgeons? If you want to stand out in your industry, you’ve got to narrow your focus….

  6. Kathleen Watson on February 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Lori, I tell my clients this all the time. Unfortunately, I think it’s a case of “we teach what we most need to learn.” Thanks for being my teacher for the latest round of remembering the ol’ “riches in niches” axiom!

  7. Dorothy Pang, The Natural Fertility Expert on February 7, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks Lori! I resisted being a fertility specialist for a very long time. However, now that I HAVE claimed it, and created a convenient way for me to get my Fertility in Bloom program out to my clients, I LOVE it! And, my clients get tremendous added value. Results come 50% faster, and when you’re trying for a baby, that’s great news to get sooner.

  8. Kelley Grimes on February 10, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I look forward to using this fame building exercise and seeing if the niche I intend is the niche I am serving. Thank you so much!

  9. Alyssa Johnson on February 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I can totally empathize with that story. I try really hard to connect people as well. When someone’s out to “help the world” that means there’s no one I can think of to send their way. Thanks for the great tips for those who still struggle with the idea of niche.

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