By Molly Gordon
niche…1. A recess in a wall, as for holding a statue. 2. A cranny, hollow, or crevice, as in a rock. 3. A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s abilities or character. 4. Ecol. a. The set of functional relationships of an organism or population to the environment it occupies. b. The area within a habitat occupied by an organism.
The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition
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For years I struggled with the concept of niche. I knew that choosing the right niche market was considered essential to business success, yet for me, as for many professionals, choosing a niche felt like the kiss of death.
When we dig in our heels against choosing a niche, we are probably responding to the first two definitions above. After all, who wants to do business in a hole in a wall or in a tiny, rocky place? If you believe that defining your niche market means choosing a hard, cramped, and confining space, no wonder you resist.
People who bring their heart and soul to their work will resist niche marketing that tells them they must restrict the ways in which they offer value to the world. The good news is that choosing your niche market will do exactly the opposite: it will free you to be the biggest, most authentic, and most complete offer possible.
Consider the third and fourth definitions of niche. When you look at niche in this light, you will see that your perfect niche market is that location or domain in which you are most readily accessible to the people who are most likely to benefit from (and thus value) the offer that you are and in which you are simultaneously most free to exercise your brilliance.
***Your niche market is the place in which you have a natural competitive advantage because you occupy the right place in the right ecosystem.***
A good niche market is one in which:
* You are highly visible and easily accessible to the people who are most likely to benefit from your work, including prospective clients and customers, prospective collaborators and partners, and others with whom value-adding activities are most likely to be mutually beneficial.
* You can employ the widest range of your talents, skills, and training (your offer.)
There’s a paradox in naming your niche market. When you give people a category to put your products or services in, it is easier for them to get a handle on what you do and to remember it. It’s also much easier for them to appreciate how you differ from other professionals in that category. In other words, by putting yourself in a category, you can also make yourself stand out because you distinguish yourself from others in that category.
Molly Gordon, MCC, is a leading figure in business coaching(www.mollygordon.com/coaching/index.html), writer, workshop leader, frequent presenter at live and virtual events worldwide, and an acknowledged expert on niche marketing(www.authenticpromotion.com/niche-marketing/index.html). Join 12,000 readers of her Authentic Promotion® ezine to grow your strong business while you feed your soul, and receive a free 31-page guide on effective self promotion.