How Your Niche EvolvesMarch 6, 2018
Do you feel exactly the same about your coaching practice as you did 6 months ago? Things have probably changed. The market might have changed. The level of demand might have changed. You might have changed.
What do you do?
Choosing a niche is not a one-off process. Just as you and your coaching style evolve over time, your target market evolves and the message evolves.
When I talk about evolution, I’m not talking knee-jerk reactions where you panic and suddenly change direction flitting from one niche to another. I’m talking more of a gradual change. You know, like when you realise that how you get your buzz these days has changed or you notice a change in how you get the best out of your clients.
For example, when I started coaching I booked most of my sessions as 45 minute sessions over the phone. Over time I realised that the clients I work with – mainly directors of growing small and medium-sized businesses with staff – got more from a 2 hour face-to-face session because it forced them to get out of the office and focus.
The impact on my coaching business has been that I needed to be more particular about the clients I would work with. Why? Because in offering 2 hour sessions, I could only see 2 people per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – and I still needed office time to talk to new prospects, plan my marketing and have time to effectively brief my virtual assistants (VAs). Not to mention the time spent running workshops and networking.
Two hour face-to-face sessions cost more than 45 minute telephone sessions, so I needed to target larger businesses than before because they would have the budget to pay for them. Because the client would be out of the office all morning or afternoon, they needed to have staff to run things in their absence. In addition, I had less time available for actively following-up with people who were interested in coaching, so had to build up my network so that most of my clients came through referral or as a result of ‘mass-marketing’ rather than ‘direct selling’.
My style evolved and so did the market I targeted. I actually became more easy-going in my coaching style because there wasn’t the pressure to get to a result within 45 minutes. The client has space to talk, to think and come up with possibilities before deciding on a way forward.
I found that as my style evolved I began to attract a different kind of client. You know me primarily as a marketing person, but outside of the work I do helping coaches with niche marketing, I rarely coach my business clients on marketing (unless it’s about how they market themselves within their organisation).
In my own coaching practice I work with people on their Leadership & Management Skills. This means helping them with managing others, setting goals and getting people on board with their plans, managing their time better, reducing stress levels and more and more, I help them deal with ‘difficult’ members of staff by teaching them people skills.
The reason I’m sharing this is to illustrate that you can operate in different niches and those niches can evolve over time. I’ve learned to go with it; to trust my instinct. But then I’m 4½ years into running my practice and it wasn’t always that easy! I do remember what it was like in the first few years to want to drum up business quickly and choosing to specialise in marketing with all of my niche markets served me well in terms of getting my name out there.
When you think about how your niche will evolve, don’t be too distracted by what other people are doing. Focus on what’s right for you. Remember that you shouldn’t be so unique or specific in your niche that you restrict yourself. I’m certainly not the only person who coaches on Leadership & Management Skills for example.
So, how is your practice evolving? Let me know by replying to this email.
© Copyright Hannah McNamara – Reprints welcome so long as by-line and article are published intact and all links made live.
Hannah McNamara is Chartered Marketer, popular speaker, book author and qualified Coach with over 15 years experience in Sales & Marketing. She now runs workshops, seminars and programmes showing owners and directors of established businesses exactly how to find hidden opportunities and grow their organisation. Hannah is a director of SME Academy.
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