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What Is Your Niche?
by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on April 10th, 2014

By Jen Wolfe, Wolfe Creative
 
The key to building and growing your small business is creating ways for your clients to distinguish you from everyone else who offers the same thing. What makes you different and meaningful to your clients? What is your niche?
 
It’s been my pleasure to work in conjunction with several business coaches, including Gordon Parkman of Achieve Results Consulting, LLC. Gordon and other business coaches can help businesses zero in on what it is they truly love to do and help them find their niche. That’s when I take over. My job is to help businesses put into words what’s in it for the clients to work with them
 
For example, how do you distinguish an automotive repair place from its competitors? Don’t they all do pretty much the same thing? Not necessarily. Maybe the owner requires all their mechanics be certified through a special school? Maybe the company only works on certain makes or models of vehicles? Or perhaps they specialize in only one type of repair (like Midas, who originally started as an auto repair company for brakes and mufflers only).
 
Let’s take a look at several small businesses here in Phoenix that have done a great job of distinguishing themselves from the competition.
 
Experience in business or trade
Luke Shafer of American Family Insurance has been in business as an agent for nine years, but he’s also backed by a company with more than 80 years of experience in the insurance industry. Decades of experience in your industry is a powerful tool to help convince customers to trust and work with you.
 
Awards and designations
Showing potential customers that you’ve won local awards for products and service is an outstanding way to show them the quality of your business. A strategic partner of mine, Phoenix Marketing Associates has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Valley’s Top Social Media Marketing Firms. Since the winners are determined by votes from the general public, this speaks very highly for the firm. Earning designations, say for green or eco-friendly practices, special training, advanced training and more, can also add to your clout with clients.
 
A different approach
Sometimes, the approach you initially take with clients can set you apart. Estate Planning is a crowded marketplace in the Valley of the Sun. Snowbirds from all over flock to the area and settle. It is here that they begin to plan how to pass on their estate to their heirs. Poulos Law Firm has an approach that puts the family first. Before even looking at a single document, Attorney Greg Poulos sits down with clients and goes through a long list of questions to help determine what the family needs are.

Greg says, “Your estate plan should take into account your heirs different needs, circumstances and capacities. A cookie cutter approach to Estate Planning most likely won’t work for every family. The Family First Estate Planning method ensures that your family respects your intent and wishes for your legacy.” 
 
There are other aspects of your business you can touch on as you share your message with potential customers that will help them trust you and buy your products. They include:

  • Satisfaction — Warranties, guarantees of 100% satisfaction, good return policies and more, are excellent ways to your clients are satisfied with your business. This also includes good customer service, with quick return phone calls, fast service or going above and beyond the customers’ expectations.
  • Promises — Making promises of what customers will receive (and living up to those promises) can really make a difference. For example, perhaps a painter promises to wear booties, place drop cloth everything, clean up every spot and vacuum for you on the way out.
  • Unique products and cutting edge technology — You may want to emphasize that you have access to special products that no one else has, or perhaps your business is the first in Phoenix to take advantage of a new technology?
  • Qualified Staff — Is your staff qualified? Are they licensed, bonded and insured? Have they had extra or special training that no other businesses can boast about?
  • Notable — Are you or is someone in your business noted for speaking engagement, teaching seminars, media interviews, etc.? Showing that others trust your opinion can be a powerful tool to attract customers. 

Remember though, the most important message you pass on to clients is what’s in it for them to work with you. So as you craft your company marketing message, think hard about what exactly it is you provide for your clients and tell them how you can help.
 
The good news is that if you get stuck, there’s plenty of help to be had from your fellow Chamber members, whether you approach us on a professional level, or just want to bounce ideas off us. We are here to help!

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