I was once asked a very good question about whether or not a coach can succeed without having a tightly focused niche.
It’s a great question. Can you build a successful coaching business without having a clear niche strategy? Yes, but it will be much harder. As one of my mentors, Milana Leshinsky, said “65% or more of struggling coaches haven’t established a viable niche.”
Let’s be sure we understand what we mean by a niche.
Your Niche = Your target market (WHO) + Your solution (WHAT)
Many coaches decide to focus on a particular area, such as relationships. Or they choose a target market, such as working parents. But you need both pieces of the puzzle to have a true niche.
Having a target market allows you to focus all of your marketing, programs and services on the needs of a particular group of people. Having a solution allows you to clearly communicate how you can help people.
People are looking for solutions. They want help to overcome specific problems or reach certain goals. That’s what they’re hiring a coach for. I know it’s a shift in thinking but the truth is, we’re not selling our coaching. We’re selling our solutions. Coaching is the vehicle we use to help our clients reach their goals.
This is where a lot of coaches struggle in marketing themselves. They try to sell their coaching. Most people don’t even know what coaching is. As coaches, we have to sell our solutions. And the more specific we can be about who we help, the solutions we provide, and what outcome we help our clients achieve, the easier it is to market ourselves as coaches.
To master your niche strategy you have to put together the “Niche Puzzle”. There are actually three pieces of the puzzle: your WHO, WHAT and WHY.
We’ve already addressed the target market (WHO) and the solution (WHAT), so let’s talk about the third piece of the puzzle. You have to understand the competitive framework and clearly explain why people should choose to work with you vs. someone else. What is unique about your solution or the way you deliver your solution.
But it’s about more than your solution or your system. It’s also about your WHY. Why do you do what you do and why should people work with you?
People want to know that you can help them and that you truly care about helping them. They want to know that you’re passionate about what you do.
Would you go to a hairdresser who hates cutting hair or who doesn’t care about what your hair looks like when you leave her salon? Of course not. You want to go to someone who has experience, but even more importantly, you want to know that she cares about giving you the best darn haircut in the world.
So to answer the question, having a clear niche is essential to your success. But it’s not enough to know who you serve. To succeed in your business, you have to be very clear about who you help, what solution you provide for them, and why they should work with you. When you put all these 3 pieces of the puzzle together, you have a solid foundation for your marketing success.© Copyright 2013 Cindy Schulson