- It’s not easy to let go of serving a broad market segment to niche into serving YOUR market segment.
- Fear comes up around niching down too much: becoming too specific, excluding people who have money to spend, painting yourself into a corner.
- Figure out who you truly serve (not just who you think you should serve) and niche down until your brand hits their hearts, minds and needs.
When I first started working with coworking space operators in 2013, I worked with “coworking space operators.” At the time, that market segment was small, closely-knit, and easy to target.
Over the years, I continued to serve, teach and create for “coworking space operators.” But that phrase evolved to include everyone from community-focused one-off coworking spaces, to impact spaces, megabrands, franchisees, landlords, management agreement-ees and more.
So 10-plus years in, having “coworking space operators” as my target audience no longer made sense. But I was reluctant to niche down tighter. Even though I knew better.
For years, I’ve been coaching coworking pros to niche down to differentiate; niche down to attract perfect-fit members; niche down into your vision, values and vibe; niche down into your local community.
But I wasn’t niching down as far as I needed to.
Brand strategy best practices say that you should “niche down until it hurts.” But let’s flip that.
What if we niche down until it hits? Until our brand and offerings resonate deeply with our target audience; until our business is perfectly aligned with our own vision, values and vibe; until we know exactly who we’re talking to and how to best communicate with them.
It’s not easy to let go of serving a broad market segment to niche into serving YOUR market segment. Fear comes up around niching down too much: becoming too specific, excluding people who have money to spend, painting yourself into a corner.
These fears are backwards.
If you want sushi, do you want to go to a restaurant that serves a little bit of everything, including sushi? Or do you want to go to the best sushi joint in town? If you want to learn about the local music scene, do you want a publication that covers a bit of everything, or one that covers the local music scene? If you want to take the family to a pumpkin patch, do you want to take them to the bins in front of the supermarket, or do you want them to experience a fun pumpkin patch?
The “little bit of everything” approach doesn’t work for sushi … and it doesn’t work for coworking and community building.
I learned this the hard way.
It wasn’t until I had some short-lived, poor-fit members in my own Lab community that I was forced to niche down further into who I serve. I had to clearly call out who I am here for. The Lab is not a club for “coworking space operators.” It’s a club for indie coworking space operators with a growth mindset.
That is my target audience. That’s who I serve.
And clearly defining and sharing this has been absolutely liberating—for my content, my business strategy, my messaging, my members and my brand.
So be brave, figure out who you truly serve (not just who you think you should serve) and niche down until your brand hits their hearts, minds and needs.