It’s Spring – at least that’s what the birds and bees and spring flowers are telling us. Lots of things to do and enjoy out there in the sunshine. Why am I stuck in here in front of a computer screen – doing projects for customers (even though they are lovely people)? If I finish this project the rain will come and I’ll miss the joy. Time never comes around again. Sometimes we need to take the opportunity (and get muddy fingers!). See my Garden blog >>
As some of you will know I spend a lot of time in our large, rampant, but lovely garden at Froggarts Cottage. You can read about our antics, achievements and utter failures at http://froggartscottagegarden.blogspot.co.uk.
It’s great fun but one of the necessary chores is attempting to remove the weeds. And what weeds! Couch grass, bindweed, ground elder…. You have to admire them. Despite our regular skirmishes, battles and outright war they continue to flourish. How?
All these weeds have a secret weapon – niche marketing. They grow in spaces where other plants don’t. You can pull up couch grass and ground elder but their main life support systems are UNDER THE GROUND where animals and gardeners can’t easily grub them out and where other, more compact plants don’t bother. And a second string to their bow is that they grow VERTICALLY, sneaking up through narrow gaps and in the case of bindweed using the support of established vertical plants and even couch grass. They grow in places where “ordinary” plants don’t. They don’t go with the flow – they find their niche and use their specialist skills to dominate and thrive. (I can see those sneaky white bindweed flowers laughing at me from the tops of the delphiniums!)
As small businesses and solo professionals we need to thrive in the jungle and the best way to do this is to specialise. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to see how you are different from other psychotherapists, accountants, builders, whatever. You’ve done the same training and got the same qualifications. So what is it that makes YOU different and able to get the business you want against competition from all the others?
Your specialism might be:
- The type of clients you prefer to deal with – (vertical market)
- Location – do you do business within a small local area, or do you provide a nationwide service?
- Your particular way of doing things, your view of the world
- Service level you offer – time of day, 24/7, Saturday appointments, self-service…
- Particular jobs you have done successfully which are unusual
- Your friendly approach and contact throughout the project
- You like the colour blue
The way you go about your job is different from others just because it’s YOU offering the service. Think what differentiates you and what your niche market could be.
Ensure your website and other marketing material states quite clearly what makes you special. Your website designer should listen to what you want to achieve with your business and your website and create a site specifically for you rather than using a cookie-cutter template that assumes all therapists, builders, financial advisors etc are the same. Otherwise how can you be seen to be different and offering that special service to your niche market?