Laser-targeting a niche (stop making it harder for yourself)

How badly do you need consulting clients?

I recently polled readers, & asked “how badly do you need clients?”, on a scale from 1-10, where 10 was “I need clients super bad–if I had a list of prospects, I’d call/email them right now!”

Here’s a snapshot of the results:

How badly do you need consulting clients?

You can see how many of you need clients–basically everyone except 1 lone person who’s doing OK.

Everyone else is in desperate need of clients, and is struggling to figure out how to do it.

A lot of you are discouraged, frustrated, and ready to give up.

Don’t give up!

Because I know what you’re doing wrong. (Well, there are likely a few mistakes you’re probably making, but one thing in particular stands out).

The 1 thing you’re doing wrong that’s making it harder for you

In that poll, I also asked you to tell me your consulting niche.

And as I looked over the list of your niches, I immediately noticed a problem–a problem that’s making it really hard for you to focus & find prospects & clients.

First, here’s a look at just a few of the niches you told me you’re targeting:

  • Small to medium sized businesses needing help with their environmental compliance.
  • Operations departments of small to midsize companies servicing the oil and gas industry.
  • CEOs and entrepreneurial leaders of privately held middle market companies generating $2 million – $250 million in revenue with no less than 10 employees in any industry.
  • Small business owners (or non-profits) that have a need for cinematic video for their website or social media.

On the surface, those niches might LOOK specific, but in reality, they’re not.

They’re way too general.

The problem with being too general

When you have a niche that’s general–like some variation of “small & mid-sized businesses”–you make it super difficult to figure out how to find prospective clients who you can reach out to.

I mean, if you wanted to reach small & mid-sized businesses, where do you even start? It’s completely overwhelming.

A better way to target consulting clients

OK, now that we’ve identified the problem, let’s get to the solution.

What if you got super specific? That alone will make it FAR easier to find prospective consulting clients.

And remember: just because you pick 1 super specific consulting niche does NOT mean you’ll be stuck in that niche forever.

You’re just going to do a quick experiment to see if you can find prospects in an extremely specific niche.

With a quick experiment like this, you’re just gathering data. If the data show you’re not on the right track, you just need to change what you’re doing, and test something else.

You’ll get there.

You can figure this out. (But stop making it harder than it needs to be).

What a laser-focused niche looks like (and how to find one for your consulting)

So, here’s how I might niche down those general niches.

Instead of:

  • Small to medium sized businesses needing help with their environmental compliance

Let’s think about what kinds of specific business might be concerned about environmental compliance. Maybe:

  • printing companies
  • medical testing facilities
  • agricultural products companies
  • oil & gas drilling companies
  • mining companies
  • dry cleaning companies
  • powder coating & painting companies

You get the idea. You can brainstorm ideas around this. And you’ll want to get even more specific (keep reading–I’ll show you what I mean).

Next, you want to get specific about the size of the business. You don’t want to target anything from mom-n-pop businesses all the way up to Fortune 100 businesses. That’s way too broad.

Instead, you want to focus on businesses where it’s easier to reach the decision maker. Often, these are businesses generating $2 – $20 million in gross revenue. Anything smaller, and they likely won’t have enough revenue to pay for your services; anything larger than that, and you’ll probably have a tough time reaching decision makers.

OK, so let’s get even more specific.

Sticking with our example, I could decide to focus on dry cleaning companies, but only those doing between $2 – $20 million in gross revenue. If you can’t find revenue for companies, you can use proxies for it–for example, the number of employees, or how many offices/locations they have, or whether they have large facilities or require expensive equipment.

So, right away, I can see I’m not going to look at mom-n-pop dry cleaners (unless I have some relatively inexpensive template-ized product or service I can sell them with little-to-no time required for me to implement it). Maybe instead, I’d want to target larger companies, like uniform & linen supply & laundering companies–like those who provide linens, uniforms, & laundering for hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc.

Get the idea?

By now, it’s probably a lot clearer where you could look to find prospects like that.

You’ve got a much easier task to find these kinds of businesses than “small & mid-sized businesses”.

Still stuck?

That’s OK. If you’re still stuck, email me, and tell me briefly about your consulting skillset, the kind of value you can provide your clients (be specific), and your niche idea(s).

Also, if you’re having trouble finding prospects in your niche (I’ve been hearing from a lot of you who are having trouble with this), email me to let me know.


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