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Why focusing on a niche is important for small business success

november 14, 2023

Imagine you're scrolling through Instagram and you come across an image of a necklace you love. You head over to the poster's profile to see what other kinds of jewelry they have. Along with the image of the necklace, it also has images of flowers, avocado toast, the sky, and some nail art.

Example of an Instagram feed grid with images that don't seem to be focused on any specific topic.

What do you do next?

Chances are you'd leave the profile because you're not sure what they do or what they're selling. And just like that, the business has confused you and has lost a potential sale.

This is why having a business niche is so important. To grow your business and monetize your social media channels, it's important to find and focus on your niche. This not only helps visitors know exactly what you do and how they'll benefit from your business, but it also helps your marketing efforts and content creation strategy across your online platforms.

When you focus on a niche, you accomplish three things:

  1. Establish authority by showing that you're an expert in your area. This can bring in clients, collaborations, partnerships, speaking engagements, and more!
  2. Increase visibility by making it easier for your target market to find you. If people are searching for a specific type of product, you're more likely to rank highly in search results if your post captions and hashtags are focused on that product.
  3. Simplify your marketing strategy and earn higher returns for your content marketing efforts. By knowing exactly what you want to focus on, you won't waste time posting content that doesn't result in returns for your business.

It is vital to have this clarity for the success of your business on social media.

Imagine if that same business from the above example primarily had images of jewelry on their social media profile—it would be much clearer what the business is and what value customers can get from it. With a profile like that, people are far more likely to spend time looking through posts, to follow the account, and to purchase products from them.

Example of an Instagram feed grid with posts that are related and focused on a jewelry business.

Let's look at an example within the coaching industry.

I recently worked with a client to help her clarify her expertise, find what she is passionate about, and focus in on a specific niche. During our first meeting it became clear that what she was doing at the time wasn't something that excited her. Nor did she have a clear target market in mind—she was happy to work with everyone and anyone.

Over the last two years, with no clear niche in place and no defined target market, she was struggling to bring in clients and grow her followers and engagement on social media.

After asking her about her experience, her knowledge, and what she really enjoyed, it was apparent that communication and storytelling are her passions.

From there, we started discussing the idea of her stepping away from being a social media manager who worked with everyone to becoming a storytelling coach and working with a more specific clientele.

As the content and ideas for a potential program started coming to her, her passion for this was apparent. She decided to change her niche to focus on helping small businesses tell their brand stories in order to grow and monetize their businesses on Instagram.

By focusing on something that she had experience and expertise in (and something that she truly enjoys), she's been able to improve her content and messaging and create a program to help her ideal clients, all while enjoying the process.

With this focus in place, it's easier for her to be found on social media. People are more likely to work with her because she specializes in this niche and she's able to build her authority and become the go-to expert in this specific area. Her content marketing process has also become simpler for her. She's found her passion and loves waking up to help small businesses tell their story every day.

Now, let's look at a few common questions that people have when it comes to finding their niche.

Niche vs. target market: What's the difference?

The two often get confused and one can be mistaken for the other. But there is a big difference: A niche is what you do, a target market is who you do it for. The two go hand-in-hand and you need to have clarity on both in order to have success.

Remember, when you market to everyone, you actually market to no one. When you tailor your messaging to a specific person, that's when business growth happens.

How do you find your niche?

There are a few factors to consider when deciding on a niche. I always recommend first looking at your own knowledge and expertise. Instead of starting a business dependent on what other people need or want, look within and decide what you are passionate about and enjoy doing.

If you're starting a business that you want to maintain for a long time, you'll want to focus on something that you enjoy and wake up every morning excited about.

When you find your niche, you want to focus on it, continually learn, and get as much experience as possible helping others in it. This is what will make you the go-to business within your specific industry.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when deciding your niche:

  • What am I knowledgeable about?
  • What advice or tasks do my family and friends come to me for?
  • What do I love to do?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • What change/transformation do I want my ideal clients to go through?
  • Have I overcome something in the past that I can help others also overcome?
  • Have I mastered a skill? (If not, is there something I'm willing to learn about on an ongoing basis in order to master?)
Illustration showing all of the different elements that come together to inform a niche.

By answering the above questions, you should be able to narrow it down to one or two business ideas.

Next, go online and research whether there are other businesses out there similar to what your focus is. Most likely there will be—and that's a great thing! If others are monetizing off a similar niche to what you've chosen, then you can monetize from it too.

If you've come up with multiple niches that you're interested in, research them further to see what other businesses are doing. Is there something that sparks your interest more than others?

By answering the above questions, you should be able to clarify your goals and narrow your scope to something that you're able to become the go-to expert on, monetize from, and enjoy doing long-term.

Once you've got your niche and business ideas clearly in mind, it's a good time to create a business plan. Start by downloading this Excel template for a business plan checklist from Microsoft Create, and then edit it to make it your own.

Further reading

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