“Surely that niche is too small?”
This was the response of a data consultant recently when I was discussing the niche for my coaching program (myDataBrand).
My niche being…
Experienced data professionals who are struggling to either:
Launch their own data consultancy or
Take a strugglign data consultancy to the next level
People keep saying I’m crazy because my approach could be applied to any industry.
“Why think so small?” is a common theme I hear.
But that’s missing the point.
And this is critical to the niche you choose for your data business.
Because you stand a far better chance of getting hired, selling your software, or landing that dream job - when you scale your niche down, not up.
The knee story
I talked to a friend recently who is having knee surgery following a tennis injury.
During a discussion with a clinician, my friend mentioned the name of the knee surgeon (let's call him 'Harry') that was scheduled to perform his operation.
The clinician looked confused:
“‘Harry is doing it - really? Interesting, he normally does cardiothoracic and vascular surgery”.
You can imagine what this did for my friends confidence in his looming medical procedure.
Now imagine if this social encounter had gone another way.
“Harry is doing it - really? You should reach out to Dr. Spencer Cooper instead.
Spencer is the UK’s leading expert in sporting-related knee injuries and specialises in reconstructive operations that get the patient back playing in record time.
He’s got a website showing successful sporting knee injuries he repaired and the post-op outcome they experienced.
You can even book a consult on his website.”
Who would you rather have repairing your knee?
‘Specialist-Spencer’, the UK’s leading knee expert for sporting injuries, or ‘Have-a-go-Harry’, the generalist?
So bringing it back to data…
My niche may look small, but "data professionals who would love to have a successful consultancy but are struggling to launch or grow” is easily a big enough niche.
There are tens of thousands of solo and boutique consultancies that fall into this niche but I only need a fraction of that amount to hit my revenue goal and coaching capacity.
But here’s the thing.
I'm also working right now with large data software vendors, yet my niche focus hasn't turned them away.
Having a tight niche doesn’t mean I turn down lucrative assignments, it just means that in terms of my sales, marketing and product development, I’m hyper-focused.
I know what my target audience thinks and feel about their challenges so I can create content that resonates deeply
I know the events they attend, what websites they visit and what content resonates with them
I know their deepest mindset challenges and limiting beliefs
I know what marketing messages will resonate and what sales process will get them to convert into clients.
Now imagine how difficult it would be if I turned my niche into…
"Anyone who wants to launch or grow any kind of consultancy".
How do I even begin to resonate with that market?
I would have to create generalist content and hope for the best.
But what’s more I would be fighting it out with every other ‘business coach’ on the planet.
I would rather be the go-to-expert in a tiny niche, that I have embraced for 25+ years, than a generalist in a huge niche.
Now let’s play that out to your field of data and business.
Let’s say you’re great at data quality management.
A few years ago, ‘clients who need data quality help’ would attract a small number of consultants, but now there are hundreds of consultancies that specialise in data quality.
So what to do?
You could become the UKs leading telecoms data quality specialist (if that was your specialism of course!)
But why not go deeper?
You could become the UKs leading expert in helping telecoms firms recover stranded assets and revenue, through data quality improvement.
Do you see how easier your marketing has become?
You now know exactly who to reach.
You know which events to speak at, which partnerships to foster, which editors to reach out to, which content will resonate with your niche.
You’ve made your sales and marketing easier, not harder.
And what’s more, your proposition becomes laser-focused.
You help telcos recover stranded profits as a result of poor data quality.
By picking a niche like that, you’ve dramatically accelerated your ‘data authority.’
But most don’t do this, they prefer to cast a bigger net, instead of a shiny hook.
“I’ve worked in banking but that’s screwed, so let’s try insurance, retail and pharma, and see what bites”.
But that’s the wrong approach.
If you want to create a successful consultancy, that doesn’t rely on agencies and day rates, you need to consider the creation of packaged offerings that deliver an outcome to a specific challenge.
To do this you need to pick a niche you can dominate so that you become the only choice.
And when you do that?
Your fees don’t sound so crazy and the client only has one obvious option on the table.
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