By Ben Walker, CEO for Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
Building a business right now is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do, though it’s also more challenging than ever before with all the competition that we’re up against. Finding a way to stand out will be essential, and choosing a niche (or niches) to specialize in while establishing a brand can be a key part of that.
Note that you can have more than one niche. At my company, for example, we offer both general services and specialized services in six different industries, including medical, legal, law enforcement and business transcription. Each niche has work only conducted by individual agents who have strong expertise in each industry.
Whether you want to choose only a single niche or several, let’s take a look at how and when you should choose niches for your business.
Why You Should Consider Niching Down
Sometimes general appeal works perfectly well for businesses. If that’s the direction you want to go, there’s nothing wrong with that.
That being said, if you really want to stand out in your field, niching down and centering your brand around specific services or clients is a great way to go.
Our medical transcriptionists, for example, have incredible expertise in their individual specialty; they know how to format transcriptions from medical reports and the exact language that healthcare providers are likely to use. They’re going to create more accurate and valuable documents for our clients, and that’s an enormous asset to the providers hiring us.
Niching can make you an industry’s go-to person, whether you’re a photographer specializing in real estate photos or a growth consultant focusing exclusively on nonprofit clients.
How to Choose a Niche
When you’re building a brand around serving a niche, it’s essential to choose wisely. In order to ensure you’re doing so, I recommend taking three specific factors into consideration: your relevant experience, potential profitability and industry stability.
1. Consider relevant experience you already have.
When you’re choosing a niche, it makes sense to pick one that you’ll actually like working in.
Think about the work experience that you’ve already had. Which customers did you enjoy working with most, and what did they have in common? A photographer, for example, may realize that they hate shooting weddings but love maternity and newborn shoots.
If you already have relevant experience in a specific niche, that’s a plus; you already have some work samples and hopefully client testimonials on your side.
2. Weigh potential profitability.
Some niches are naturally going to be more profitable than others, and taking that into consideration is smart.
Florists can charge significantly more for a bouquet that’s going to be used in a wedding than one that will simply be a centerpiece for the Thanksgiving dinner table, even if they look almost exactly the same.
Think about whether there will be certain services that can come at higher price tags, or clients in different industries who are likely to pay more, even if it requires initial upfront training. These are good niches to get into.
3. Think about industry stability.
Industry stability will help you identify a niche that will be profitable now and long term. The last thing you want to do is to build a brand around an industry that’s prone to collapsing.
A writer who has decided to specialize in writing about specific social media platforms, for example, will likely experience ups and downs when those social platforms naturally ebb and flow in popularity over time. People will always need grant and contract writers, however, even when the economy gets a little tough.
How likely is it that the clients you’re targeting will be around in one, two, five or 10 years, and how likely is it that they’ll both need and be able to afford your products or services?
There’s no way to know the future, though there are some choices that are inherently riskier than others in terms of potential longevity and stability.
Niching can help set you apart and allow you to become the go-to person in your specific field. That being said, you can still offer general services that have a broad appeal on top of the niched services that you offer. That’s the perfect balance for the work we do, allowing our specialized agents to work in their chosen fields and having strong generalists handle the rest.
Remember that it’s your business, so you get to set the rules, and that means niching down however you see fit.
Ben Walker is the CEO for Transcription Outsourcing, LLC and has made contributions to Entrepreneur Magazine, The Associated Press & Inc.