In a recent post, I posed this question:
Do you have a clear niche?
Are you sure?
Many entrepreneurs I work with believe they do, indeed, have a clear, solid and effective niche for their business.
Until I begin to ask a few questions.
In my experience, 90% of entrepreneurs have an extremely fuzzy niche (and don’t realize it). But that’s just my opinion. And it occurred to me that you might be curious about how clear your niche is. So, I’ve arranged a quick and fun way for you to get some quick, direct and candid feedback from me but also dozens of other people. In my experience, honest feedback can be hard to get.
But here’s another way to find out how clear your niche is – give yourself this quick and easy ‘self-assessment’.
The truth is that the best approach to self assessment is going to be three pronged:
Prong #1: Self Assessment
Prong #2: Learning about Niching (the more theory you know and examples you have the more you’ll intuitively sense when your efforts are on point or not).
Prong #3: Feedback from others (feedback from your peers, experts and people who represent your target market is vital).
Your 46 Point Niche Health Check Up
All you have to do is score yourself honestly based on the questions below. You’ll need a pen and paper.
There are no right or wrong answers here, just honest and dishonest ones. Be as honest as you can be. The most points you can get is 46 in this assessment. You don’t want points. 46 = flatline. If you get 46 points then your niche is, in my opinion, dead (or never existed). 0 points is the best you can be. If you get no points at all, then you should be teaching courses on niching because you ‘get it’.
So, please give yourself the listed number of points if you . . .
10 POINTS: Are trying to reach ‘everyone’ (‘because that’s the best part of what I do – it can help anyone!’) or it’s a fuzzy niche (e.g. it’s any of these three of something like it, ‘I work with people who are stressed’, ‘I work with people who are fundamentally open to change and ready to take responsibility for their own lives – they’re ready to do the work’ and ‘I work with people in transition’ – those are all code for . . . everybody.’)
10 POINTS: Have no plan on how to go about getting clear on your niche
5 POINTS: You aren’t absolutely clear on the specific problem you’re solving for them (Island A) and the particular result you’re offering them (Island B). If you can’t sum each up into five words or less, you likely aren’t clear.
1 POINT: Are honestly just going for the money in your niche by focusing entirely on what’s hot and trending now.
1 POINT: Aren’t passionate about solving their problem and offering them the result they’re craving.
1 POINT: Don’t really care for, love and respect this community of people.
1 POINT: Don’t want to be known for delivering that result. Like, if you were at a party and overheard someone say, ‘That’s Lindsay. Lindsay helps _____ (kinds of people) get __________ (result).” and you aren’t secretly delighted about that (or worse hate hearing that) then give yourself a point here.
1 POINT: Are not 100% sure where you can find them. If whenever you sit down to figure out where to market you keep getting stymied, give yourself a point.
1 POINT: Secretly feel like a fraud and that you’re simply not credible to help them with their issues.
1 POINT: Don’t have the expertise (or desire to commit to being the expert) in delivering the previously named results.
1 POINT: Can’t identify other players who are creating successful businesses serving this market too. If no one else is doing it, there might be a good reason.
1 POINT: Are defining your niche by what you think that they need (e.g. ‘People need to be more balanced/disciplined/kind etc’) vs. the painful symptoms and problems they have and the results they’re craving.
1 POINT: Have a niche defined entirely by demographics and external things (e.g. ‘My niche is single, white women, ages 40-60 living in Edmonton’ or ‘My niche is black men, ages 30-40, making $60-80,000/year and living in Seattle’ or ‘People who can afford me’).
1 POINT: Have a niche defined by ‘umbrella lables’ like, ‘People in chronic pain.’ or ‘Conscious, heart based entrepreneurs’ or ‘Cultural creatives’ or ‘members of the Creative Class’.
1 POINT: Are going it alone and trying to figure out your niche by yourself and haven’t made any head way in a long time.
1 POINT: Have a marketing strategy that basically consists of “just getting my name out there”.
1 POINT: Couldn’t describe a typical day or your client. What do they do each day? Where do they spend their time, money and attention? What keeps them up at night?
1 POINT: Couldn’t describe the typical life story of your client like this with such clarity and empathy that they read it and say, ‘Wow. That’s me. That’s eerie. How do you know this?’
1 POINT: Aren’t absolutely clear there are enough of them to reward your efforts.
1 POINT: Have trouble crafting offers that get them to say, ‘Wow! I need that!’ and sign up. If you explain what you do and your products and services and get some ‘polite interest’ but no one signs up – give yourself a point.
1 POINT: Can’t articulate or niche in 120 characters or less (check out the ‘So You Think You Can Niche?‘ contest for great examples of clear and fuzzy niches).
1 POINT: Get the glassy eyed response when you describe what it is that you do at a party. People smile and nod and say, ‘How interesting’ and then change the topic. You can tell that people are being nice but they really have no idea what it is you do.
1 POINT: Are working hard but still not getting enough of the kinds of clients you want.
1 POINT: Have a body of clients who aren’t aligned with the bigger causes and issues that move you (e.g. You’re passionate about women’s rights and empowerment and your clients think that’s ‘nice’ but don’t really care about it in any meaningful way themselves).
1 POINT: Have a body of clients who disagree with or don’t care about your point of view, perspective, philosophy and ‘take’ on things (e.g. You’re a naturopath who believes in the raw vegan diet as the way to go but most of your clients are resistant to that approach or don’t really care about that).
Your Total: ______/46
And, if you’re brave, feel free to post your score and reflections below.