What’s Your Niche?
By Wendy Turner-Hargreaves
What is your niche?
Everyone talks about it. Define your niche, own your niche – but what is a niche? Do you even have one, need one and, if you don’t, can you create one? How will defining your niche benefit your business and customers?
That’s a lot of questions, but actually defining your niche is much less complicated than you might think.
When we work with our subsidiaries on this, we start by considering their niche as a slice of their market:
- where the business excels – which projects or processes?
- where the product/service is unique
- where you know your target customer inside out
- where there’s high customer satisfaction
- where no one else goes – this might be geographically/metaphorically
- where the company/product/service can be noticeably different
- where focused effort produces the highest returns
Which of these, combined, will provide you with the best returns and the happiest customers?
Speaking of customers – how well do you know yours? Do you have a clear and detailed understanding of your target audience and what they need?
You might be a scaffolding business specialising in residential new builds in Bolton. That’s a great start, but its not enough to make you stand out. Maybe you’ve completed some developer tracts where profits were higher and your teams were more efficient, but your five nearest competitors all do the same thing.
If you know your target customers you’ll understand where their pain lies. Have they been let down by shoddy systems, by poor project management or by companies with an inflexible approach? There will be neglect in your industry somewhere and that represents an opportunity for your business.
Focus on your company values and on delivering every component of the job with those values front of mind. Actively promote those values in everything you do so that they become synonymous with your business. Having clearly defined core values will help you make good decisions about how to manage your company, people, priorities and projects.
Examples of your values might be:
- Maybe you’re creative and innovative in how you approach a job
- Perhaps you’re known for being upfront and honest, for being a great team to work with on site
- Customer care and satisfaction is paramount, and you always aim to deliver a top quality customer experience
- Are you accountable and responsible, striving for continuous improvement?
Defining your values as a team is unifying, because everyone can then work towards a shared goal.
Plus, the more layers you can add, the more distinct you become from those around you. Now you’re starting to stand out.
Now you’re honing your niche.
Somewhere out there will be customers who are not having their needs met. If your company can understand them and identify what their needs are AND provide the solution to their problems, you’ll be better placed to win their business.
Once you’ve brought all of this together, draft up a niche statement, a sentence or two which summarises everything you’ve identified – and quote it everywhere. Make sure everyone in your team knows it, that its on your website and social pages so that it becomes an intrinsic part of your business. When everyone speaks the same language and uses the same words it’s a very powerful tool.
To construct your niche statement, try this simple formula:
niche + problem + solution + promise = success
So now the niche statement might look something like this:
We work with developers and local authorities delivering new build scaffolding projects throughout the UK. Our highly skilled and experienced team understands that you need a fast and efficient turnaround, together with the reassurance of high-quality workmanship on every site. We’ll bring our expertise and passion to your next installation along with the back-up of our dedicated customer care team.
Which can be simmered down even more to this:
Working alongside leading UK developers to deliver high quality, innovative scaffolding solutions, efficiently and with a passion, certified to the highest industry standards and backed up by our dedicated, professional customer care team.
At Fidelis, we went through this process to define our own niche statement, so we know how challenging it can be to sum up everything you are in one meaningful sentence or two. Eventually though we agreed on this, which absolutely represents our purpose:
We buy, enhance and grow profitable owner managed businesses, to help reward business owners for all their hard work.
We’re always pleased to hear from business owners who are looking to sell or exit their business. Wherever you are in the process, for a confidential, no obligation discussion please get in touch.
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