What a Niche Market Looks Like for Service Businesses
Deciding to go niche gives you the opportunity to get really creative with how you package your offerings and can set you apart from the competition by filling a gap that no one else is - making your business unique and memorable.
Being niche is just another way of saying that your business is focused, makes sense, and that your offerings are memorable.
Being niche doesn’t necessarily just refer to the thing you do. It can also be about the people you serve and the situation in which you serve them.
Do you know what a beauty salon, restaurant, dog sitting business, and photography studio have in common? (This sounds like a joke with a bad punchline, I know). The answer: they can all live under one roof as a niche business.
B.S.! Is what I bet you're thinking.
It's true though. Let me show you how and in doing so, I hope you too get inspired on how to creatively package and price your own offerings in a way that sets you apart and into a niche market. But first, let me set the record straight on what it means to be niche.
A case for going niche
Entrepreneurs running service-based businesses often have many reservations about going niche. They think that choosing a niche market means they’ll get bored or will decrease their income earning potential. These are myths. In fact, going niche is one of the best things you can do for your business.
When you’re running a service business, your niche can be based on what you, who you are serving, or both.
Myths about picking a niche market
Making your business niche can feel like a scary thing to do. There are a few common concerns I regularly hear from my entrepreneurial clients when we get into defining their business and start talking about a niche market. Let me start by setting the record straight and addressing those common concerns.
Niche Myth #1: Being niche is a BORING life-long prison sentence
Starting a business in a niche market does not mean that you can never do anything else. It just means that maybe your current business starts with a specific focus before expanding into new things. There are a couple of benefits to doing this. The first is that you can focus on getting really good at something (because who wants to buy something or hire someone mediocre…). The second is that you can become well-known for something, and it’s much easier to become well-known for one thing at a time than for multiple things all at once.
Once you’re ready to explore new things, you can use your expertise and influence from your first niche to launch into an adjacent niche. If it fits with your business’s mission and purpose, you can do it within the same company. If it feels like too big of a departure, you should consider launching a new business with a distinct identity. If you can envision yourself going this route in the future, I suggest you build your personal brand along with your first business so you have more momentum behind your name when you launch subsequent businesses.
Niche Myth #2: Being niche = less revenue
While being niche does technically decrease the overall number of people who could hire you, you have a better chance of getting hired by a larger percentage of the people who need what you offer. Therefore, your opportunity for revenue could actually be higher. I go into more of why this is in my article, 3 Benefits to Being a Specialist Instead of a Generalist.
NICHE MYTH #3: Being niche means you only work on insanely specific things
To be in a niche market you don’t have to, for example, open a toenail cutting salon (eww, that just sounds gross) instead of a regular nail or beauty salon.
Yes, a toenail cutting salon is niche (though I wouldn’t recommend it), but niche can also be a regular ole nail or beauty salon because it meets the three requirements (1) focused (2) makes sense (3) memorable.
Speaking of, let’s back up a bit and define what niche even is.
What is a niche market?
Let’s continue with the same example. A nail salon is a niche thing to do. You would NOT be niche, however, if you had a brick and mortar business that expanded to include not only a beauty salon, but also a restaurant and dog sitting services and photography studio because you love beauty care and food and dogs and photography... This is not focused, does not make sense, and makes it difficult to remember what your business all does.
But wait! I told you before these can be a niche business. So what's the trick?
By focusing on the people you serve and the situation in which you serve them, these four seemingly unrelated things can be niche and exist under one roof as a part of the same business. For example, if you had a passion for beauty care, food, dogs, and photography, you could combine all of these passions and areas of expertise into a one-stop-shop to serve brides on their wedding day with a full-service, get-ready location. Your brick and mortar location would serve the bride’s beauty care needs with hair and makeup services and maybe even massages and dress steaming for the whole wedding party. Everyone needs to eat before the wedding, so you can also cater the food for pre-wedding. Many brides own dogs and need to find someone to take care of them on their long wedding day. Instead of asking someone to leave the wedding festivities to do it, the bride could bring their dog along that morning and their canine could get a special day at your doggie daycare and hotel. Lastly, by providing a beautiful location, the photographer can get some great shots on-site.
In this example, your offerings are very broad and seem unrelated, but because your clientele and the context in which you serve them is specific, it makes sense. Voila! A niche business!
This is what I mean when I say that going niche gives you the opportunity to get really creative with how you package your offerings and can set you apart from the competition by filling a gap that no one else is - making your business unique and memorable.
Being niche in your what AND who
You could also be niche by specializing in both the thing you do AND the people you serve. Let’s go back to the idea of a nail salon. This is one specific thing you do. You could also serve a specific group of people: brides (and their large entourage of bridesmaids and family). The bride could choose to go to a regular salon, but why would they when they can go to you - the wedding nail specialist that understands the unique needs of this type of group for this type of event. Because you understand nails and brides so well, you have created the perfect private group setup along with scheduling, pricing, marketing, vibe, and champagne (of course!) - to all cater to the modern bride.
Are you doing your business a disservice?
You may think that what you're offering makes sense because it's all coming from you and it's all things you love. However, that's not always the way that others see it and it may be costing you clients and referrals by making it hard to remember what you do and who you work with. If you can’t succinctly say this in one focused sentence (aka. a mission statement), you should consider getting more niche in your business.
Remember, this doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to a boring life of doing the same thing, doesn’t mean you have a lower revenue potential, and doesn’t mean that you have to only do one insanely specific thing.
Your niche can be about what you do, how you serve people in a specific situation, or both.
Choosing your niche
I’ve developed a free workbook called What Business Should I Start? to help you begin to figure out what your niche may be. You can download it below.
Get your free guide to figure out your niche:
3 myths about being niche
#1: Being niche is a boring life-long prison sentence
#2: Being niche = less revenue
#3: Being niche means you only work on insanely specific things
Niche market for service businesses
#1: Being niche is just another way of saying that your business is focused, makes sense, and that your offerings are memorable.
#2: Being niche doesn’t necessarily just refer to the thing you do. It can also be about the people you serve and the situation in which you serve them.
#3: If you can’t succinctly say what you do in one focused sentence (aka. a mission statement), you should consider getting more niche in your business.
#4: If you want help getting started choosing a niche, download my free workbook called What Business Should I Start below.
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I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you craft your dream business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.
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