Hi there! My name is Natalie MacNeil, the newest guest blogger here at Bplans. I’m an Emmy Award-winning Media Producer and the author of “She Takes on the World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose” (read to the end for a special offer!). When I was in high school I decided I would start my own business. That led me to the local business start-up center where they offered access to Business Plan Pro. That was the first business plan I ever wrote. Fast forward years later and here I am helping fellow small business owners at Bplans.com. I look forward to helping you grow your business!

It’s the Biggest Mistake I See Entrepreneurs Make

I’ve connected with and helped thousands of entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Hands down, the thing entrepreneurs get wrong most often is their niche. You can develop an amazing product and sabotage your success by not knowing your niche. Today I have five tips for you to rock your niche.

Listen to Peter and Jonathan talk about what niche marketing is with Lara Galloway on the seventh episode of The Bcast, Bplan’s official podcast (at 9:47):
Click here to subscribe to The Bcast on iTunes »

Five Secrets for Rocking Your Niche

  1. Talk and walk like your niche – Niches are like cliques in schools and, for this reason, they often come with their own sayings, catchphrases and pop culture references. Are you one of your niche or are you masquerading? I believe the most successful business owners are ones who are part of the niche they serve and therefore super passionate about building relationships with others like themselves.
  2. Create the archetype – Creating an archetype or model of your customer goes a bit further than applying a stereotype. Bird watchers will value a good pair of binoculars while bird owners want good quality seeds. Whether you draw on paper, make a collage or list it on your iPhone, make sure you know everything about your customer’s and their desires and habits.
  3. Don’t be so “sure” – Think you know your customer? Survey at least 100 people that match your archetype above and ask questions. Maybe you have a product launch coming or maybe you just want to get to know your niche better. You gain everything by putting in that effort and stand to lose everything if you don’t. Remember that experience is subjective and perceived “facts” may be just that, only a perception. Entrepreneurs have to know, hobbyists can guess.
  4. Be relatable and build relationships – People in your niche must be able to relate to you and that’s why I think the best niche for you is one that you are part of. Being a part of your own niche will help you tell your own stories about problems you faced or adventures you’ve had. Sharing your experiences — both good and bad — builds trust and trust builds relationships. Those relationships will help you convert more people from your niche into paying customers.
  5. Write a niche statement – A mission or vision statement is more aligned with what I call your “bigger picture plan” for your business. A niche statement focuses solely on who your business serves and how you serve them. Look at this statement often so that you never lose sight of who you serve. You don’t have a business without them! We’d love for you to share your niche statement in a comment below.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I have a special offer for you. Today (March 27th!), when you buy a copy of She Takes on the World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose you’ll get $500 in bonus gifts to power-up your business and make your entrepreneurial soul sing.

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer in future posts, pop them in a comment below. That’s what I’m here for! 🙂

photo by flickr user JD Hancock | Creative Commons

AvatarNatalie MacNeil

Natalie is best known as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of She Takes On The World, featured on the Forbes list, “Top 10 Entrepreneurial Sites for Women.” Visit Natalie's website to learn more.