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6 reasons why committing to your start-up niche will help you win work

Authors of a new book on differentiating yourself to win business, Heather Townsend and Jon Baker, argue the case for committing to a market niche

Appeal to the masses or go niche? That, for many people starting a business, is the question.

Get the mass appeal model right and you’re guaranteed a high volume of sales. Get it wrong and you disappear without trace, swallowed by an ocean filled others like you.

Target a niche, however, and you immediately create something that has a chance of standing out. If you’re pondering what to start, let the following reasons for going niche help you decide.

Reason 1: It helps your marketing materials be more effective

As a start-up, it can be very difficult psychologically to constrain yourself to only targeting a niche market. After all, you NEED to get business in through the door quickly.

However, if you bite the bullet and decide to focus on a small section of the available market place, your marketing materials become significantly more effective. This is because you know:

  • Where to place your marketing materials and content so that it is read by your niche
  • The right buttons to press to build an emotional connection with your audience which compels them to take action quickly; e.g. contact you
  • How to package up your services so that they are a good fit to solve your niche’s problems.

Reason 2: It helps you build your credibility in the early days

Many potential clients are often nervous about working with a start-up. That is very understandable. However, by specialising in a niche you can build your credibility up, because you ‘truly seem to know your stuff’ in a way which bigger, flabbier, more established businesses don’t or can’t.

As a start-up you have the advantage of being able to be incredibly nimble and tailor your services to exactly what your niche marketplace want. This tailoring and the extra value you bring as a specialist, can often overcome any client concerns about working with a ‘young’ business.

Reason 3: It helps you be referred and recommended more often

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product or a service, your customers/clients ultimately want to have a recommendation to buy from you. After all, it de-risks their purchase decision.

You will stand out and be far more memorable than all your competitors who state they specialise in working with ‘SMEs’, for example. As a result you and your business will become more memorable and likely to be recommended or referred by your network.

Reason 4: It enables you to differentiate yourself from your competitors

Why is it that as a start-up all you seem to do is meet your competitors when you are out and about networking. If you are always meeting your competitors, then you can bet that your customers and clients are always meeting your competitors as well.

How do these potential clients and customers decide on which supplier to choose?

They will choose the one who seems to best understand them and their marketplace, and has tailored their service or product to fit their requirements.

Consequently, if you adopt a niche you will stop fighting in the same pond as all your competitors and be able to differentiate yourself by neatly tailoring how you do what you do to your niche’s set of requirements.

Reason 5: It allows you to tailor your service to what your clients want and need, making it easier to convert prospects to clients

When you adopt a niche you can tailor the services you offer very closely to your niche’s needs, lifestyle and problems.

As a result of offering a closer match between your services and what your clients really want and need, it will be much, much easier to convert prospects into clients.

Reason 6: It helps you to form strategic alliances

One of the easiest ways for any start-up to get their message out to the right people, in order to win work is to form strategic alliances with other businesses offering complementary services.

When you have a niche, it becomes significantly easier to form these strategic alliances.

Heather Townsend and Jon Baker are the authors of ‘The Go-To Expert: How to grow your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition, and win business. They regularly blog at venture-Now and Joined Up Networking.


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