Let’s take a minute to go back over the foundation — two key understandings frame and support a well-defined niche market.
A business that cannot answer those two questions specifically and explicity will define a loose, untargeted niche market. The end result will be an unclear offer — probably too broad — to customers they don’t know.
If you can’t describe what you do and who your customer is in one simple sentence each, keep working on those questions above.
When you know them like you know yourself . . .
A niche market is the group that your prototype ideal customer represents. That’s why it’s critical that we define the prototype customer as well as we possibly can. Because now we’re going to extrapolate up.
You might think it’s a waste of time to prototype the ideal customer in the first place. STOP RIGHT THERE.
What gets lost by skipping that step is the information we acquire by deeply thinking about how one human in our customer group will respond. The loss is detail most folks won’t take time to think through in one step.
Yu can get details without the context of an individual human reference, but skip that step, you are stealing deep knowledge from yourself. If I tell you, if you read it, even when a real customer relates the buying experience, it is not the same as thinking through one customer’s identity yourself.
It’s you, you’re investing in.
It’s survival. If we don’t know our customers as well as ourselves, sooner or later, we will fail. I don’t need a coach to tell me how to do that. Neither do you.
How to Define Your Niche Market
Look at that ideal prototype customer. Find the group that he or she represents. Use the ideal customer to find that group’s needs, wants, and values. You know how to do that as sure as you know what things are everybody things and what things are your best friend’s idiosyncracies.
- What is your ideal customer’s age group? Define an age range narrow enough to keep within a set of tastes and values. Spanning a 10-year age difference might work for undertakers, but probably will not for the needs of college students or new home buyers.
- How is your ideal customer exactly like every member of the group? What needs does the group have in common? What do they all desire? How can you use your previous success — what you’ve already provided — to serve the larger group?
- What is the group’s biggest worry? Is it the same as the ideal customer’s? What other issues does the group have?
- What are the major ways that the group interacts? How do they communicate with each other? What secrets do they keep
- What are the major ways that the group solves problems and finds answers?
- How does this group define a good day? How do they define a bad one? What other groups do they get along with? What groups do they work with that they don’t understand?
- What problem can you take off their desk? How can you save them time, money, or pain?
Picture the group in a meeting room. Have you accounted for everyone there? What part of the group will love your product or service as much as you do?
That’s your niche. That’s the customer you want to serve.
Next: The Four-Part Definition of a Business
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.