You may have heard the general consensus that everyone and their dog seems to be talking about nowadays; that to really corner your market and increase your sales, it’s best to niche it right down.
The rule of thumb appears to be that specializing in a niche is your golden ticket, being the ‘go to’ person for this, that or the other is the best way forward.
For example, instead of being an English language teacher, you could be an English Language teacher for children specializing in pre-school infants for ex-pats living in Hong Kong. That would be your niche.
Scientists are another great example of the ‘micro niche down’ phenomenon.
Back in the day a scientist was a general loose sort of term for someone clever and inventive. This meant they were free to invent a light-bulb one day and the phonograph the next, or come up with the theory of gravity and then invent a new type of telescope. Nowadays scientists seem to specialize to the nth degree, and in doing so might not have the wider picture to hand or even miss some crucial and relevant discovery taking place in another field of research.
While I do agree with specialization to an extent, and I recognize the danger of spreading yourself too thin, diluting your skills and being ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’, I also believe you can likewise go too far the other way and over specialize.
For example, if I have a leaking tap I would most likely call a plumber. My plumber’s name is Steve. Great guy, little overpriced, but even so I wouldn’t expect him to turn around and say ‘Sorry love, can’t do your tap because I am a toilet plumber, not a tap plumber…you will have to call Dave down the road, the leaking tap plumber’.
Okay, so this example might be a little extreme, there is no way a plumber wouldn’t take on my leaking tap and the opportunity make some extra cash by charging an additional emergency call out fee…but you see where I am going with this.
If you over specialize the message that might be going out is that you are only good at one thing.
It might even be the final blow for your business if the area you are specialising becomes obsolete. Think about what happened to video recorders, the high street record shop and of course good old Blockbusters and their rival Ritz Video rentals (yes you’d forgotten all about them hadn’t you!).
We have a niche, it’s helping non-native English clients communicate, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have native English clients, or that we just focus on one thing or one sector. As well as copywriting, we help businesses with ideas, company names, slogans, marketing strategies and even write speeches. For individual clients, one day we could be crafting a resume and the next day editing a book, or ghost writing an article for a CEO. We work with large multinationals as well as one man bands. This is how we evolve and learn, so that we can continue to help even more people and their businesses.
Any successful business has to evolve with the times and respond to the market.
Take the analogy of having your face right up against a brick wall. You would get to know the brick you are staring at better than anyone else in the world. However, that wall might be part of a house, which is joined to another house, which is part of a street, in a busy district in a bustling city. By focusing on just the brick alone you are not seeing the bigger picture, how everything interconnects.
So although niching can be your golden ticket, be aware that if you over specialize, it can also be a barrier to growth.
What do you think? Have you got a niche? Let us know in the comments below.