Put the boot is on the other foot: develop a niche

Last week I bought a pair of trainers via the internet for the very first time. I have been buying the same Asics Kayano Gel make and model for the past 4 years. They were £40 cheaper than buying them from my local running shop of which I am keen supporter of. 

Having netted a bargain, I thought I would apply the same method in buying a pair of walking shoes for the Oxfam Trailtrekker challenge. After spending about 4 hours surfing the internet, reading up on the best buy, highly rated, scouring for a competitive price, I finally found a pair.

I ordered them and eagerly awaited their delivery. When I tried them on, the fit was all wrong and they just didn’t feel ‘right’. So I rewrapped them, trudged off to the post office and spent £7 to return them. Now I am £7 out of pocket, have lost 4.5 hours in time and have nothing to show for it.

I asked people who had taken part in the previous Trailtrekker where they had bought their shoes from and was recommended Rugged Ways, a specialist walking shop in Skipton. So off I went and was greeted by a very friendly and knowledgeable Sally. I explained what type of shoes I was looking for and why. She measured my feet, recommended a pair, reduced some insoles to size for a correct fit and after 25 minutes I left with a pair of perfectly fitting walking shoes. Whilst there, I also picked up additional advice relevant to the Trek. I left feeling satisfied and happy in the knowledge that my needs were expertly met and will return to buy the rest of my equipment from there.

The morale of the story: You get what you pay for. A specialist service may be more costly but you can’t beat it for expertise and knowledge. This coupled with a quality, bespoke and friendly service = happy satisfied customer who will then recommend you to others.

Do you offer a generalist or a specialist service? Are you all things to all people or do you offer a specialist service to a targeted group of people? With a glut of coaches in the market place, how do you as a coach define what you do and with whom?

Put the boot on the other foot! Strenghten your position in the market place by identifying and developing a niche which will help to diffrentiate you. Most successful coaches have one or two of niches in which they operate from.

Some questions to start you off  when identifying your niche are:

What am I offering?

  • What do I get a buzz out of when working with clients?
  • What interest and motivates me?
  • What are my areas of expertise and specialist knowledge?
  • What experience and credibility do I have?
  • What are my clients’ issues and challenges?

Who and where is my target market?

  • Which industries or sectors?
  • Type or size of organisation?
  • Age, profession, seniority?
  • Gender
  • Geography and location?
  • Is the market large enough to be sold to economically and for me to sustain my business?
  • What are clients willing to buy and how much will they pay?
  • Am I able to identify and access these target clients?
  • What competition exists and how will I leverage my position?

Once you have done your research you should be able to make a statement which summarises what you do:

I am… (name), I work with …..(type of clients) on……… (typical problems)…..and some of the outcomes are…… (benefits).

Do you have a niche? How did you go about identifying and developing yours?

Don’t be shy….please do leave a comment. If you would like to learn more, check out my other Blogs and follow me on Twitter




About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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