Are you afraid to choose a niche for your product or service? Are you afraid that you’ll be limiting your business if you narrow your niche down too much? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you are not alone. Lots of new business owners struggle with this issue. All you want to do is give your gifts to the world, and making decisions that make you feel as though you are saying "no" to a segment of the world may not feel right to you. But by choosing to focus on a certain segment of the population, you are ensuring that your work actually gets out there, and you will be astounded at what does come your way.

So don’t be concerned that you’re going to cut yourself off from other opportunities, or that you’re going to limit your success by focusing on a smaller segment of the population. The opposite is actually true. When you focus your efforts:

1. It’s so much easier and profitable to market to a smaller portion of the market (just think how many people there are in the world!) than to try to be all things to all people.

2. It’s much easier for people (your clients) to talk about you because they understand that you do one basic thing for one group of people.

3. It’s much easier for clients and colleagues to refer you for the same reason as #2.

4. It’s much easier to build strategic alliances/joint ventures and partnerships for the same reason as #2.

5. It’s much easier to become and be considered an expert at what you do because you’re clear about who your market is and what your message is.

6. You’ll be amazed to find out that you actually open yourself up to possibilities that would not have come up had your focus been all over the map.

Something I often tell my private clients is that there is a group of people out there who can only hear your message from you. Even if you think what it is that you’re offering is similar to someone else’s offer, the way you deliver your message (through your presentation, your filters, your view of the world, etc.) is as unique as you are. And there is a certain percentage of the population who can only ‘hear’ that through you and your offerings. Those people are YOUR people. Doing the digging and the research to figure out who they are is worth the effort as it will pay off in spades.

So, once you figure out who your people are, you’ll want to pass them through a few filters to further determine if they are a viable niche for you to build a business around. Some of those filters should include:

1. Can they afford your offerings?
As most of us are in the helping profession, that’s where a big part of our thoughts and energies go – to helping people. But you’re also in business to make money. It’s critical to determine if a niche can support your business now and into the future in the beginning of bulding your business.

2. Are they reachable?
If you can’t reach these people, how will you be able to tell them about you and what you offer? Find out how many ways you can access this group, both online and off, to help determine if this is a viable niche.

3. Do they know they need you?
Many times we create what we think our niche needs, but if they don’t know they need it, you’ll waste time and energy trying to talk them into it.

4. Is this group one YOU are passionate about working with?
Unless the work itself fulfills your passion, then this filter is just as important as the others, if not more so. In order for you to show up your brightest and best, the people you’re working with should be people who are your idea of the best of the best in clients and customers.

When you focus your efforts and energy on one target market that you’ve determined would be a great foundation and fit for you and your offerings, you are directing the Universe to help draw those Ideal Clients to you. When you continue to put yourself out there with one clear message, those Ideal Clients will eventually hear it and seek you out. Exciting, isn’t it?

© 2008 Alicia M Forest and