The truth about your "niche"

How important is it to find your business niche, and once you do - how small does your niche have to be?

This is a question I get asked a lot by frustrated women who believe the reason for their woes is that they haven't narrowed in on their target market. As a result, they feel out of focus and everything they do feels disjointed, chaotic and sort of all over the place. 

I get it. And while a definite adjustment is in order, I disagree that a super, duper narrow niche is your answer to business bliss (it might be the key to product bliss, but I'll get to that.) Here's my point:

If you want any growth potential in your biz at all, you need a clear MISSION, NOT A CLEAR NICHE.

Your mission is your story, and it will grow, expand or contract with you for years to come, no matter what products or services you offer.

It's called the hub-and-spoke business model. Just think of one of those old-timey wooden wheels on horse drawn carriages. The more spokes, the stronger it is. Your business = this wheel. 

At the hub?  You. Your personal brand. Your big message or story. This is who you are, and why you do what you do. Put another way, it's what you're trying to achieve in this world and why we should be paying attention to you.  

From there, your "spokes" are the endless array of products and services you can create, forever and ever, that are all tied together because they stem from you, and your message.

I'll give you an example. One of my favorite companies makes:

  1. -diapers
  2. -makeup
  3. -cleaning products
  4. -backpacks
  5. -vitamins

A little disjointed, right? If you were to take this list to a business lender, out of context from it's story, it might be a hard sell. Have you guessed the business? It's The Honest Company. The central hub is a mom's mission to create safe, high-quality and trustworthy products for families, and with that story, there's a ton of room for spokes.

Now for my challenge for you this week: If your brand story or your mission feels a little murky to you, take out a piece of paper and do some free association around this question: What products or services would you love to create and offer to the world?

No rhyme or reason required. What ideas are really lighting you up right now? Don't feel tied to stick within your "niche" either - your items can be totally random and unassociated.

Once you have a list that feels really good, Is there a common theme that connects all the items? (Or most of them?) For example, do they all help young people find a voice? Are all of your services or products, generally speaking, helping women look or feel more confident? Is your stuff creating a healthier, better world? Or maybe inspiring families to come together? 

(This also applies to content. Maybe you're just starting a blog or podcast. What kind of topics do you want to cover? How do you want your audience to feel after experiencing your stuff? Any stand-out themes?)

Whatever it is -- this is the beginning of your brand story. Your mission. Your why. This is what pulls you forward. Even if all of your services and products don't happen at once -- or ever -- it's okay. You're well on your way to finding the clarity you need to build a business you love. XO