It is has become a common mantra that everyone is looking for their ‘niche’; the part of the market they can own. In business we see people becoming more and more specialized. Even in the athletic world players are becoming focused on a specific role. Overall the concentration on becoming an expert in a finite area is seen as a good thing. But is it possible to become too “niched”? I believe the answer is yes. There are some serious negatives to consider when thinking about your niche.
- Fewer Opportunities – As you gain expertise in a specific area you may start to be seen as a clutch player. That is great when there are lots of clutch plays. But when the ‘game’ goes smoothly you might find yourself standing on the sidelines. Consider the football linebacker who is the “go to guy” for third and short. If there are rarely third and short opportunities he is going to be warming the bench. And too much time warming the bench can mean being cut from the team.
The solution – Go ahead and focus on becoming an expert in your niche but not at the cost of all else. Maintain all of the skills you need to be successful in your business. That way you can part of the everyday game during the regular season and still be clutch player who makes the huge play when you are needed in the playoffs.
- Lower Income Stream – Clearly as a niche becomes smaller the number of people in it to buy your product become less. It is a simple matter of numbers.
The solution – You have two options, either decide to make your niche bigger or charge more for your product/service within your niche. If the market within your niche will support a higher price tag – great, you have no problem. If that isn’t an option you may have to consider broadening your boundaries a little bit to survive.
- Slower Growth – This goes hand-in-hand with the issue of income stream. Fewer potential customers = less revenue = slower growth.
The solution – When working in a small niche you must protect your reputation at all costs. It is a small world within a niche and all of your potential clients are likely to know each other. That is a great thing if they are all singing your praises. It will be disastrous if someone feels mistreated. If you want to grow within your niche you MUST make your clients feel heard and like they are receiving world class service.
What do you think? Is it possible that some of us have become so focused on our niche that we are losing sight of the bigger picture and the people we could help if we were willing to expand outside our narrow focus? Let me know in the comments!