Big Circle, Little Circles

Niching.

Gah.

This is the toughest nut to crack.

It can feel a bit like this picture – “So. Many. Blueberries. Which do I pick?

If we think of just picking one – we feel this sense of, “Oh no! I’m missing out on all the others! I’m limiting myself.” but if we try to go after all of them at once – our mouth isn’t that big. And that feels overwhelming. “Where do I start?

Luckily, there’s another way forward.

There’s a lot to it but, over the past few months I’ve come up with a process and structure that seems to be helping a lot of people work through it all a bit more easily.

And I wanted to share it with you as my holiday gift. Just watch the seven minute or so video below (and there are funny jokes at the very end too!). It was made by my new pals from Ottawa at Bindu Productions. Check out their stuff – they can help you create a kick ass video like this – or also a super affordable and gorgeous website.

So . . . Big Circle, Little Circle.

Here are a bunch more examples as a scanned hand drawn image in this free PDF . . .

 

FREE & CHARMING PDF: Big & Little Circles

 

Two things I’d love to get from you:

1) Feedback: Does the make sense? I would love your feedback and questions here – this is a new thing I’m working out and I want to make sure it’s clear.

2) What are your circles? Leave them in the comment box below with your website. Who knows? You might just get a clients out of it …

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

About Tad

  • In a world of too many blueberries I think that’s a fantastic way to help narrow a market. I also think you should write an illustrated book. The PDF is great.

  • thanks eric! oh! an illustrated kids book on niching. i love it! some kid with a lemonade stand or something . . . hrmm . . .

  • Hi Tad, I enjoyed watching your video.

    At the moment I have 4 big circles: Anxiety, Depression, Weight Loss, Smoking but I want to narrow this down to 1 big circle of Weight Loss.

    In terms of my 3 little circles I started to struggle what they could be because I want to work with men and women, all ages but who have tried every diet going. So maybe one of the little circles could be Yo Yo Dieters, ah and then Emotional Eaters and perhaps sugar addictions. THerefore, can the 3 circles relate to the conditions they have rather than ‘who’ they are? Because people who have those conditions could be from any type of background and this is where I get confused as to how to ‘target’ and focus my marketing?

    Thanks,

  • Jil Beardmore

    I quite like the white background as it makes for a very crisp visual. It would be great to see some simple B&W images (like those in the PDF) incorporated into the video, as it’s such a visual concept. Smooshing the two together would be icing on the cake.

    Happy solstice,
    Jil

  • GREAT, GREAT, GREAT video Tad!

    I have so many students who are frustrated by this concept. They know there’s a demand (people are asking them for something) but not how to define their “circle”. Chunking it up into smaller circles, even if you’re just guessing at first, is a great way to test and see who your best target markets really are.

    Merry Christmas Tad!

  • so, your big circle is weight loss and the little circles are: Yo Yo Dieters, Emotional Eaters and sugar addictions? I think that’s really clear. sometimes if the problem is specific enough you can avoid a bit of the demongraphic stuff. but, ideally, the target is = psychographics + demographics + problem. how would you rank your three little circles in order of importance?

  • erika

    Tad,

    I love it! It definitely allows for the creative and the visual to get their hands wet in strategy through an artistic form.
    It seems very possible to leave the anxiety of narrowing my niche out of the picture by seeing the container in the big circle.

    Yay! The Marketing Hippie Strikes Again!

    Going to juice me some blueberries.. Happy Holidays!

  • hey erika, thank you for your words. and yes – i’m feeling like central to this whole niching conversation is taking the stress and shame out of it. so many people feel like they’re wrong or broken because they can’t come up with a clear answer. they know it’s important. they keep being told to do it – but then told they’re not doing a good enough job. and i have been thinking that this means we’re not doing a good enough job as coaches in explaining it and guiding them through it. and i’ve never thought of it as artistic – but yes. i guess it is.

  • hey teresa! thanks so much. it can be such a frustrating topic. and yes – i’m totally a fan of making some guesses. just to get things started. because at least that can lift up what’s NOT a fit – and that can be just as useful in figuring out what IS a fit. there are over an hour of videos on niche here: http://marketingforhippies.com/free/free-marketing-videos/niche/

  • Tad, just wanted to say that you rock and are one of the most generous and wise marketing coaches. Wishing you and yours a holiday bright with love.

  • george. you are so kind. high praise indeed coming from you.

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  • Hey Tad,

    I have a couple businesses all at different stages.

    My bread and butter niche has been small business owners working in making a brighter future. My marketing has been strictly word of mouth and personal referral. This has worked for me very well as im living off residual and free to spend my time with y family and work on new projects.

    One of which is a service for Military Officers that also provides great residuals. It also gives me an opportunity to work with interesting and inspiring people i may have never otherwise had an opportunity to interact with.

    And, the project i am most passionate about is the Thunderbirds Global Action Team. The Worlds First High Profile Mobile Global Research, Rescue, and Recovery Action Hero Team.

    Picture reall life G.I.Joes doing rescue work. I see it as Extraordinary Activism designed to inspire people to rise up and meet the extraordinary challenges of todays world in a new and exemplary way.

    This has the largest target market by far.

    my target markets for this endeavor are activists, kids who need a reason to have hope, people who want to contribute to creating a positive future for all sentient beings, and people who like real life superheroes and people who dig inspirational high energy music written to be a soundtrack for powerful activists.

    The product is music, the price is free, and the opportunities are endless for helping people gettin active and involved in the movement around us.

    You can sign up at xavierhawk.net and get my latest album free and help contribute to a healthy happy world full of possibility while keeping tabs on the progress of the teams development.

    Eventually people will have the opportunity to plug into projects and opportunities in their area, connecting with other members and eventually taking part in the reality show.

    again, im happy to see where you’re at now Tad, and i love the work your doing.

    -X

  • hey hawk!

    ok. let’s get into it.

    My bread and butter niche has been small business owners working in making a brighter future.

    cool. nice big circle. i’m curious what the three smaller circles within this would be.

    One of which is a service for Military Officers that also provides great residuals. It also gives me an opportunity to work with interesting and inspiring people i may have never otherwise had an opportunity to interact with.

    cool.

    And, the project i am most passionate about is the Thunderbirds Global Action Team. The Worlds First High Profile Mobile Global Research, Rescue, and Recovery Action Hero Team.

    Picture reall life G.I.Joes doing rescue work. I see it as Extraordinary Activism designed to inspire people to rise up and meet the extraordinary challenges of todays world in a new and exemplary way.

    This has the largest target market by far.

    my target markets for this endeavor are activists, kids who need a reason to have hope, people who want to contribute to creating a positive future for all sentient beings, and people who like real life superheroes and people who dig inspirational high energy music written to be a soundtrack for powerful activists.

    ok. so who is hiring the Thunderbirds? where does the money come from?

  • Word…

    Smaller circle for small businesses is socially conscious/world bettering entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that havent fully penetrated the marketplace.

    For instance, my last client was a soil developer out on the left coast of the USA who is bidding on a big contract with the city of Oakland to design their sanctioned marijuana growing operation….NOT my first choice for a client LOL, but they have been helping vineyards and organic farms rejuvenate their soil while educating the farming community on rejuvination practices. Their whole driving force is to move beyond sustainability and actually replenish and rejuvenate soil. This philosphy coupled with a first to market compost tea extractor is what got me interested, that and buggering me till I agreed to take on a new client.

    So to answer your question directly, I would paint the smaller circle as cutting edge, market leaders with seemingly grandiose goals of changing the way we think about things and do business.

    You know what im talking about, the outliers. People and businesses that Investment bankers would balk at. Still kinda broad I suppose, but im turning away more clients than accepting them.

    As for the Thunderbirds:
    It is purely an entertainment play. Well, that’s how the money will be made. The work is the real reason the team exists. I just incorporated a business model that would pay for the work to be done without having to rely on donations. In fact, I figured out a way to make this a multimillion dollar revenue generating franchise.

    drawbacks?

    Long gestation period. I gotta sit on this egg for a while, honing the model, and implementing the bits I can now. To drill down into specifics, Revenue will be generated from direct email marketing, co-branding, and licensing.

    Im at the groundbreaking proof of concept stage right now.

    hope this gives you some insight to work with.
    -X

  • hey hawk,

    Smaller circle for small businesses is socially conscious/world bettering entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that havent fully penetrated the marketplace.

    ok. i’d submit that no business has ever fully penetrated the marketplace. and within “socially conscious/world bettering entrepreneurs” – what are the top three kinds of those you’d like to work with?

    I would paint the smaller circle as cutting edge, market leaders with seemingly grandiose goals of changing the way we think about things and do business.

    so, not all of your clients are like that then?

    You know what im talking about, the outliers. People and businesses that Investment bankers would balk at. Still kinda broad I suppose,

    still pretty broad ;-)

    but im turning away more clients than accepting them.

    great!

  • hmm…top three i’d like to work with…

    1. alternative energy sector-

    magnetic motors specifically, but I am working with a large bio-fuel company to get local farmers to grow canola, press it, sell it as oil to restaurants, and collect it once its used in order to make bio-fuel.

    2. activist heroes-

    they often don’t excel at self promotion and i like promoting them and making sure as many people as possible know about them and how to patronize them. product development, unique selling points, etc…

    3. Anything farm related- since I am now a “farmer” lol.

    I agree about market penetration. It’s really about getting from local distribution to global market presence for most of the businesses i’ve worked with.

    As for all my clients being cutting edge market leaders…
    Now they are! lol. I had to “fire” a former client once. It relates to one of your previous posts about integrity in marketing though. He was selling info on how to become wealthy. Internet Marketing really, and it didn’t fit my vision of who i was and what i believed in.

    speaking of belief, id have to say my growing edge is taking all the good i do for others and their businesses and applying it to my own. Having the unshakable belief that i deserve success is my growing edge. I find it easy to help others become successful, but when it comes to doing that for myself some deep stuff comes up. “I dont deserve this.” “Im being selfish.” etc

    And, it comes up in unconscious ways that sabotage my plans. Little butterfly effect things that seem to have no correlation to what im doing but are the effects of limited self image. I know they wouldn’t have happened had I really been implementing the Buddhist’s “right thinking” about myself and my endeavors.

    However, it’s those fundamental beliefs that frame our experiences and our choices. Its the difference between seemingly chance encounters at an airport that open up a business opportunity and missing them because you took the subway and didn’t take the limo. They can be so deeply entrenched and are some of the most difficult to name and dislodge.

    It would be awesome to be a part of an entrepreneur focused YES! type workshop.

  • hey hawk,

    1. alternative energy sector-

    magnetic motors specifically, but I am working with a large bio-fuel company to get local farmers to grow canola, press it, sell it as oil to restaurants, and collect it once its used in order to make bio-fuel.

    2. activist heroes-

    they often don’t excel at self promotion and i like promoting them and making sure as many people as possible know about them and how to patronize them. product development, unique selling points, etc…

    3. Anything farm related- since I am now a “farmer” lol.

    I agree about market penetration. It’s really about getting from local distribution to global market presence for most of the businesses i’ve worked with.

    BAM! those are three really great small circles. nice work! that’s what i’m talking ’bout!

  • Ok, thought about my niche circles. My business is one of educating prospective investors about jatropha biofuels, referring them to a presentation or meeting with my employer/client in Calgary, who is gathering capital for a major plantation in Kenya.
    Currently, we are licensed to accept investment from Canadians (except Ontario), plus some overseas services that is mostly out of reach for me at this time.

    So I started with my Big Circle: Green Canadian Investors. Private Investors (too broad) who are not just interested in the great profit potential, but are motivated by the carbon footprint and humanitarian aspects of the project.

    For little circles focused on my audience, I went largely by geography, namely South-Central BC-based (where I live), Calgary & area (our head office), and then on-line, commenting and guest posting on Green-tech/investment blogs and news sites (plus LinkedIn, Twitter).

    Have yet to drill down farther now, but looking forward to it!

  • I don’t know what the magic of 3 is all about, but I have also always been an advocate of having 3 major target markets.

    The only divergent trail I take is that by doing this, it gives you the financial security and freedom so that you can have 1 of your small circles (as you phrase it) that might not be able to afford your full rates.

  • thanks so much cherie. what you say is so true about stability. and it just seems so freeing to people to pick three. yes. you’re brilliant. everyone go look at her website – http://www.sohnen-moe.com/

  • hey randolf,

    very cool. nice work on the big circle. that’s really clear. and yes – geography can be a great way to do it. i want to challenge you to try doing it now within those geographies. let’s pick ONE of those three geographies – and drill down further into the top three small circles within that. yes. you’re brilliant.

  • Sara

    This was timely. Great modeling of things we could do with our own websites, beautifully produced. Lots to learn from your approaches as well as the content regarding niches. It particularly helped me understand the step-wise process of identifying niches. For me, I am clearer that my first target is parents of kids birth to ten, living within a 200 mile radius. As I work with these parents, I know I will get the feedback I need to refine my own work, then take it to local educators, and with that feedback, expand outward. You are modeling that feedback loop process by asking for comments. Way to go.

  • The struggle I’m having with selecting niches, Tad, is trying to identify ones that work in a non-profit context.

    The goal of Kids Care United is to raise public awareness of the need for and benefits from greater investment in children. The long-run intention is that the public will eventually feel strongly enough about the issue that they will pressure politicians to invest in better supports for children early in their lives, thus lessening the need for so much money being spent on prisons, welfare, addictions etc.

    The challenge here is that, unlike a traditional target market, we are trying to market to an audience that doesn’t currently recognize that there’s a problem. The people who are most obviously affected by the problem are those who are living it, and, sadly, they have little political clout. I am trying to target people who vote and business leaders, and they tend to live in neighborhoods where they see little evidence of neglected or abused children.

    The best I’ve been able to come up with is to target middle-class (and upper-class) moms, who may react emotionally when they hear about disadvantaged children and compare them to their own. But even there it’s not like they would intentionally be going out seeking information on this problem. So I think we have to try and “sneak it in” by talking about issues that are on their minds [such as parenting challenges]and perhaps with every article putting in a “factoid” about abused or neglected children.

    Another possible target would be children themselves. They would probably have to be accessed through schools but the hope would be that they would share what they’ve learned at school with their parents. This is a strategy that has worked very well for the anti-smoking and environmental movements.

    I’d love to hear any advice or suggestions you have for other ways to approach this. Thanks.

  • tema,

    i think you’re on track. let’s say that middle-class (and upper-class) moms is your BIG CIRCLE. so my question would be – what are the smaller circles within that? what KINDS of middle-class (and upper-class) moms? what are the top three sub groups? Once you’ve got those – it’s time to think about finding your hubs: http://marketingforhippies.com/category/identifying-your-hubs/

  • Hi Tad,

    I just started working part time to keep my head above water and trying to get my own business started so I can afford to live.

    I am just starting out, need to advertise, don’t have the money or info., on how to get to my target people; people who can and will pay. I have been doing it for free because I have trouble charging people for info.

    Once I complete my Essential Oil DVD, ( which I’m hoping will be soon), I want to start having workshops where:

    1) I demo and explain about some of the energy’s that are out there that can help with emotional and physical pain. I show or talk about and explain how some physical/emotional pain techniques work and demo on people; Reiki, Essential Oils, Healing touch, Quantum touch, EFT, power of thought, colours, animals, sounds, etc.
    (which is what my Energy CD is all about.)

    2) I show how you can get rid of an emotional feeling to people who want to get rid of emotional issues they have such as grief- crying, anger, overwhelmed, any negative feeling.

    3) Also will do workshop on Crystals; their energy, how to look after them, where and how to use them.
    Also will be creating a workshop on Essential Oils as soon as I complete the DVD so I can sell it at this workshop.

    So my big circle is: People who want to help themselves with Physical or Emotional pain.

    Small circles:
    Workshops
    Emotional Energy workshops
    Physical energy workshops
    Sell CD
    Sell DVD

    As you can see I need help understanding.

    I now have a website, business cards, flyers, and in the process of completing an Essential Oil informational DVD video.
    I have a Relax & Heal video completed but don’t know how to sell it.
    Also a CD on Energy which I have been giving away.

    Again I have trouble finding and charging people who have money to pay. Most of the people I know are into alternative health and are struggling to make ends meet just like me. Guess that puts everything into a nut shell. By composing this email I’ve discovered I’m not bright when it comes to getting money and to stop giving away my energy.

    As you can see, I need help.

    Thanks.

    Namaste Lydia Kabatoff

  • LYDIA – back and forth . . .

    I just started working part time to keep my head above water and trying to get my own business started so I can afford to live.

    that sounds like a really smart decision.

    I am just starting out, need to advertise, don’t have the money or info., on how to get to my target people; people who can and will pay. I have been doing it for free because I have trouble charging people for info.

    got it. you may not need to ‘advertise’ but i hear the need to get clients. the question to me is: who are you trying to reach?

    Once I complete my Essential Oil DVD, ( which I’m hoping will be soon), I want to start having workshops where:

    1) I demo and explain about some of the energy’s that are out there that can help with emotional and physical pain. I show or talk about and explain how some physical/emotional pain techniques work and demo on people; Reiki, Essential Oils, Healing touch, Quantum touch, EFT, power of thought, colours, animals, sounds, etc.
    (which is what my Energy CD is all about.)

    got it

    2) I show how you can get rid of an emotional feeling to people who want to get rid of emotional issues they have such as grief- crying, anger, overwhelmed, any negative feeling.

    ok.

    3) Also will do workshop on Crystals; their energy, how to look after them, where and how to use them.
    Also will be creating a workshop on Essential Oils as soon as I complete the DVD so I can sell it at this workshop.

    clear.

    So my big circle is: People who want to help themselves with Physical or Emotional pain.

    Small circles:
    Workshops
    Emotional Energy workshops
    Physical energy workshops
    Sell CD
    Sell DVD

    got it. ok. i want you to go back and rewatch the video and look more carefully at the PDF. the circles are all about WHO you’re trying to reach, not WHAT you’re selling. does that make sense? The top three smaller circles are all about identifying the top three specific types of people you’re wanting to reach.

    also – go watch: http://marketingforhippies.com/free/free-marketing-videos/niche/ and go read http://marketingforhippies.com/tag/niche/

    Again I have trouble finding and charging people who have money to pay. Most of the people I know are into alternative health and are struggling to make ends meet just like me. Guess that puts everything into a nut shell. By composing this email I’ve discovered I’m not bright when it comes to getting money and to stop giving away my energy.

    the place to start is with who you’re trying to reach in the first place – that will help shape everything else.

    you’re on track. bit by bit :-)

  • Jamie Sullivan

    I loved this. It made me smile & reminded me of the reality that business can actually be comfortable and a ride to be enjoyed;).

    I found it clear & accessible. From 1 – 10, 11. The jokes and the Christmas music topped your Christmas treat!

    Thx Tad, Jamie

  • JAMIE – Your comments made my day. How is business for you these days?

  • JANE – This is the trickiest piece in the whole marketing world. ‘who?’. You’re not alone in your struggle with it. To make matters worse – it will likely change over time. Gah.

    So, it sounds like ‘mums wanting to make a big change’ is your big circle. And i’m curious if you can speak more to the nature of this big change. It will help.

    You might find it easier to identify hubs if you go small circle by small circle rather than all at once. I think the hubs you listed are great. And i think the small circles could be clarified a bit too. Like i’m curious what the unhappy mums are MOST unhappy about. Is it just in general? About money? About health? Their sex life? All of it?

    The nature of their problems may help you figure out the right hubs.

  • Another fantastic video Tad. Thank you deeply. I made an info-graphic representation of my circles! :)

  • Stanley Davenport

    Right now I have GURU shock. Your explanation of big circles/little circles makes sense. My big circle is: people that want to lower/eliminate the energy cost of their home. Stop paying or greatly reduce the cost of electricity and heating bills. The little circles are: 1. People who want solar/wind/geothermal products and guidance. 2. People who want green appliances and other such products for the home. 3. People who are able/willing or will pay someone to make home improvements to reduce energy consumption.

    The payoff are such things as increased value of the home for resale, selling electricity back to the grid, a more comfortable environment to live in, more money left at the end of the month, less impact on the environment and so forth, What do you think? My site is:<a solar power movement. Thanks

  • deb svanefelt

    Hi Tad – Thanks – your video proided a very helpful, brief and cogent summary of your Circles concept.
    My big circle is stressed out folks who are ready to consciously step into their discomfort zone (where change happens), to facilitate their own transformation. My smaller circles (at this point) include – 1) Those making the transition from corporate to more spiritual work; deepening their awareness of, living more consciously. 2) Those with emotional challenges – like anxiety; stress; overwhelm; trauma; divorce. 3) Agencies or groups wanting to improve their teamwork and communication.
    Thanks for all your support! Cheers, deb

  • That’s a great start :-)

  • Great video and PDF thanks Tad…I have my big circle which is parents of kids who have autoimmune or other chronic illness. I help them implement an ancestral diet to help their kids get healthy. I think that little circles in there could be the specific illnesses. My son’s case is/was vitiligo and my other tops would be asthma and eczema but there are many others like lupus, PANDAS, Arthritis, not to mention all the non-specific autoimmune conditions as well as the neurological side with autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression. LOTS of little circles that could come out of this…my question becomes should I just be marketing to people with kids with vitiligo, asthma and eczema??? OR is this another sort of sub category in which I could create specific/specialty services for?