Not long ago, one of our Pepperlane members posted the following in our community:
“I am struggling with offering too many services. What is the best way to clearly define a business (that will stand out) if there are too many offerings in different areas?....I am all over the place."
The truth is, she isn’t alone. Serving everyone is actually a common problem for business owners, and probably something that you’re more than used to as a mom. Often, we fear saying no to a potential client when we don’t offer exactly the service they need. Because we fear missing out on work, we offer a little bit of everything. But, in reality, chances are you need to narrow your services in order to grow. Niche marketing is one of many important business ideas for women to consider.
Now, you may be asking yourself - how would turning away a paying customer help you grow? Wouldn’t it be better to do whatever your customers need at first, to pay the bills?
In the short term, sure, you may be able to pay your bills more easily if you take every job that comes your way. But you won’t be serving your business in doing so (or your customers). As the adage goes, “If you try to serve everyone in your business, you’ll serve no one.” You won’t distinguish yourself or your services, and you may put yourself in the uncomfortable position of trying to offer services that don’t further your long-term goals or, even worse, aren’t really in your wheelhouse (and therefore don’t really serve your customers well).
Are you guilty of doing too much and offering everything you can think of to everyone? Consider the alternative approach: truly finding a niche and positioning yourself to become a leader in that space. Narrowing your service offerings can actually help you brand your business, attract the right clients, and help you gain expertise and become a leader in your specific field. Put simply, your business thrives and your income soars when you get laser-focused about what you’re offering. Or put by our member LuSundra Everett, “specializing is sexy”.
Just Because You Can Do It All, Doesn’t Mean You Should
Mothers know what it means to "do it all" -- convincing ourselves that it's possible to balance the demands of our home and family life, work, friendships, personal needs and interests and community all by ourselves without ever “dropping the ball". Even Pepperlaners often fall into the trap of thinking they can do it all and grow their businesses at the same time. Intuitively, we know we need to slow down and let go of the self-imposed race we embarked on so many years ago. Because when we finally delegate more at home, we find it improves our outlook, energy, mental health, and makes us better women and mothers.
The same philosophy applies to your business. When you do it all, you exhaust your talents and skills. It’s also difficult to stand out from the competition when you’re a Jill of All Trades who can “do it all”. Your clients need an expert and thought leader to guide them through the needed product or service. They need your unique perspective and a clear understanding of your business’ value and how it solves their problem. This is why niche marketing is so powerful when it comes to business ideas for women.
Take Helen Berkowitz, for example, who transformed her business from being an Event Planner to offering a Celebration of Life service: “The end of life celebration idea came from a speed networking event. I thought, WOW! What a brilliant untapped niche!”
Now Helen helps those that have lost a loved one plan an event in their honor, and when people need a service like hers, she’s now top of mind (not lumped into a more general ‘event planner’ category where she might have more competition or less specialization).
Stop trying to be everything to everyone and embrace the idea that less can be so much more.
Look at the Demand
Earning an income from a service you love is just the first part of the business puzzle. You still need enough demand in your area to find customers. But don’t take a lack of competition as a sign that you’ll find huge success and corner your market. While it’s possible that’s true, it’s more likely that there simply isn’t enough of a marketplace to sustain your business idea.
If there is competition in the area, identify where you may be uniquely positioned to serve customers better. For example, you see that there's a lot of event planners in your area, but most of them are focused on bigger events such as corporate parties and weddings. When you're talking to a number of moms at your daughter's soccer team, you hear that they'd love help throwing their kid's birthday parties. As you go broader in your research, you see that these are happening much more frequently than bigger events such as weddings or holiday parties (and a lot less competition). You can use that to your advantage and improve upon the existing competition. You can also poll prospective customers on what they’re looking for from a service and identify their biggest pain points. Ask them which of your services they would value the most and which they would pay for. Invite them to be brutally honest with you and listen to what they need that you are uniquely suited to offer.
Draw from Your Passions
When we open the doors to our business and announce we’ll serve everyone with a variety of products and services, we’re actually limiting ourselves. We’re not tapping into our true passions and authentic selves to create the type of business our ideal client needs. That’s why it’s so important to draw from your passions and fuel your service offerings from that well.
Running a business isn’t always easy, but when you’re offering services that you’re passionate about, it shines through. Clients are naturally attracted to business owners who are enthusiastic and committed to what they do. After all, would you rather work with an interior designer who dabbles in whatever comes along and has no specific niche and focus or someone who is fiercely passionate about modernizing mid-century homes and knows the process inside and out?
Focus on the Emotional Return
A business is ultimately a partnership between you and your clients, and it’s crucial to understand how you’re resolving a pain point. Ask yourself what your clients need from you that you are passionately and uniquely positioned to offer. Then think about the emotional return of your clients. Think again about Helen and her Celebration of Life service. Now that she’s discovered niche marketing as one of the most important business ideas for women and found a niche offering, Helen helps those that have lost a loved one plan an event in their honor. Just imagine what kind of impact her services have on her clients who are looking for someone to create such a meaningful experience.
But don’t fall into the comparison game. Helen loves working on Celebration of Life services and it’s uniquely poised to tap into a deep, emotional need. Your own passions, business model, and clients will likely require a totally different approach. Do you run a virtual assistance business? Think about which clients you’re most passionate about serving and what kind of emotional benefit you’re offering. Your new service offering could be, “I help overwhelmed entrepreneurs with their email marketing so they can spend more time growing their dream business and stepping into their zone of genius.”
It’s okay to want to try new things in your business and think about how to pivot into areas that tap into your passions. But at the end of the day, it’s laser focus and narrowed service offerings that bring clarity and growth to your business.