Establishing Your Niche

Post here if you're defining (or redefining) your niche.

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Old 03-02-2011
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Default Niche vs. Target Market
Hi Everyone! I just started my VA business and I have been reading a lot of your posts about finding your niche. I have also read a lot about establishing your target market. My question is how is the best way to narrow down who you want to target....???

Thank you
Jessica
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Old 03-20-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Great question. This is one that I was looking into researching myself. Can't wait to hear the response.
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Old 03-21-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Jessica,

Narrowing your target is as simple as getting more specific with the details. For example if your target is work-from-home moms, you could narrow by classifying them as:

with children in school
in business for 3+ years
who are life coaches
who vacation 2 weeks out of the year

You see my point, really dig down so that you can target your message. In this example you would craft your message for this group who has more uninterrupted daily time, probably ready to grow, still enjoys time for themselves, etc.

Your niche on the other hand has nothing to do with your target but what services you will concentrate on. Several niches are: transcription, WordPress or web design, internet marketing, or any specific category of services.
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Old 03-27-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
thank you for explaining this. i thought they were the same thing.
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Old 03-27-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Holi Mother of Smart Phones! THAT is the answer I have been looking for!

Thanks!
Tex
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Old 06-04-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Great information. Thank You for the clarification.
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Old 06-29-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
As a side note, something I am learning here as well that I want to add - narrowing down a target market may seem like you are shaving off tons of other business but in actuality it's helping you to attract MORE business by putting your marketing efforts to much better use and really reaching the audience you are trying to reach. I think sometimes for me when I am trying to define my target market I worry that I'm cutting off potential clients by not including them in my target market, but I have come to realize that that is the wrong way of looking at it. I still have freak out moments where I'm like but what about abc and xyz?? Until I reign myself back in and realize I'll reach more potential clients if I focus more of my efforts on a specific target rather than just trying to reach EVERYONE with no real direction.
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Old 06-29-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
I know what I WANT to do and I'm not sure if that is a niche or if there is even a market for it, but I will definitely narrow down my potential clients that will suit what it is I want to do. I attended a workshop the other day about starting up your own business and the presenter said that college/university business study students can undertake market research and surveys for you as part of and practice for the course they are studying. You just need to speak to the lecturers and find out your options. I am going to use the opportunity to see if there is a market for my 'niche'.
Thank you for the advice ladies.
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Old 07-01-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
I am also thinking on how to narrow down my market but come to think of it, narrowing it down may have its disadvantages too. What if they need your services but you excluded them in your list...
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Old 07-18-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
A lot of it boils down to what you want to offer, and who you want to work with.

The wrong people will call you for the right service, and the right people will call you for the wrong service.

You can help cut down on those types of calls by researching who uses the types of services you want to offer, or what kinds of services your target market requests the most.

If you say, "I'd like to work with realtors," then your next question is 'why?' and your second question is, 'what kind of help do they need?' You then find out that they might need help with website updates, or listing flyers, or uploading photos, or sending out follow-emails and info packets.

You can specialize even within a specialty.

And don't be surprised if your specialties or services change over the course of the first year or two. Sometimes your market will mold you, other times you'll find that you really enjoy a service you didn't initially offer and make the move to that. A VA I know started in social media and ended up doing SEO and training other VAs in social media instead.

You have to get started in order to fully find your calling. Take it slow, do your research, and take notes with every call and every client to see how people are viewing you and if it's in alignment with what you are setting out to do.

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Old 07-20-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
I think your business, niche and market often tend to change over time. After a 30 year career working with the legal profession I didn't want to work with lawyers ever again and decided my niche would be solopreneurs and small businesses who need executive assistant type help, but I found it boring doing mundane ho-hum tasks a high school kid could do. Deep down I needed back in "the action".

Most of my LinkedIn groups are legal (along with a couple of tech ones) and I'm in them every day as it's fascinating to see and learn about how the practice of law is evolving. I'm also getting heavily into social media and learning, learning, learning. These things are what make me jump out of bed every morning full of enthusiasm for the day ahead.

Much as I originally said never again, I understand lawyers ... and have some grey hairs to prove it! (thank goodness for Clairol lol) so I guess my niche is now working with lawyers and providing social media assistance. That's what makes me really happy.

I'm starting with a new lawyer retainer client next week and will be doing legal assistant work along with social media and setting up speaking engagements. I guess that's where my niche was all along ... I just didn't know it.

Lynne
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Old 07-20-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
I have nonprofits, small business owners, bloggers, and solopreneurs- I enjoy being able to help the smaller guys. My degrees are in small business management and nonprofit management so these are clients I can relate to and understand. Plus I feel it goes with my tagline Helping your business take flight these clients really want to get in on the right foot and see there small business ideas grow. Also my logo involves a small bird and it just wrapped around the idea of small business. I don't feel it limits me to be so specific I focused in on a group of clients that I can provide a quality service to with my background.
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Old 10-13-2011
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
I understand the concept of a target market but am having a hard time finding the data that will support my business and marketing plan for my target group. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-14-2012
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
WOW thanks for explaining I have been going about it wrong. I thought niche and target market were also the same thing. Some people do explain that your specific target market is your niche.

Moving forward I now know the difference!

I am also currently doing target market research on the industries that I want to work with. I know which industries or sectors, I know why but now I need to find out what their needs are and hone in on that.

This is great!!
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Old 01-22-2012
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
I don't think my brain is switched on today (well, it IS Sunday! LOL! ) because I'm still failing to see the differentiation between Niche and Target Market.

I've always gone for anyone who needs my services. I've had/got as my clients Removals companies, pub/social club owners, an inventor, a cake decorator, a carpenter/joiner, a professional business coach, etc. I guess the one thing they all have in common is that they are all business owners.

But if I was to specify a target market, I think I'd want to go for professional coaches and life coaches, trainers, etc. This is purely because all the coaches I've met I liked. I seem to be drawn to those sorts of people. And I'd probably pick up lsome personal development tips in the process.

Property investors is another target market/niche that I'd like to work with. Property interests me (since I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad & started playing Cashflow 101) and I'd like to get into that business myself in the not too distant future.

Another great idea I had, was being a Virtual Assistant's Virtual Assistant and working with other VAs, being someone they could outsource work to when they have too much. I think that'd work, for sure!

That being said, if someone else, say, an accountant or a builder came to me wanting some clerical support, I'd not turn their business down. It's money, for goodness sakes!!!

Anyways, I'd certainly appreciate a little more clarification on the difference between target market and niche.

Also, if someone outside of my target market and/or niche was to come to me for some support, am I supposed to turn them away? Perhaps I could take them on, but outsource the work to someone who specialises in their field, getting just a small referral fee from the VA I outsource it to?

Many thanks,
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Old 01-23-2012
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Short version:

Niche - what services you provide.
Target - who you provide services to.

My niche is bookkeeping and general office support.
My target market is 1-person law firms.

However, if I have the skills to do it, I will provide it to whomever wants it.
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Old 01-23-2012
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Originally Posted by Office Goddess View Post
Short version:

Niche - what services you provide.
Target - who you provide services to.

My niche is bookkeeping and general office support.
My target market is 1-person law firms.

However, if I have the skills to do it, I will provide it to whomever wants it.
Thanks Office Goddess for that succinct explanation.

So my niche would be, what I call, "Creative Design Services" ~ graphics, web design and PowerPoint presentation design, as well as Excel spreadsheets. But I also will do typing, etc. if someone requires it.

I don't actually target anyone in per se. Only as long as they are sole traders or small business owners.
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Old 01-23-2012
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Default Re: Niche vs. Target Market
Originally Posted by forwardvision View Post
Thanks Office Goddess for that succinct explanation.

I don't actually target anyone in per se. Only as long as they are sole traders or small business owners.
You're very welcome and sole traders or small business owners ARE your target market.
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