It’s a nice and breezy day here in Ithaca. There is a slight wind blowing and later today the town is gearing up for a massive photo shoot to show support for the Orlando victims. It’ll be a great way to show solidarity and gather with others.
I wanted to share something with you today. It’s from a Facebook conversation I had with someone. I want to share the backstory a bit and then give you part of my response to this person.
Here’s My Question to You:
Can You Figure Out What I am Talking About in My Question to Her? This Will Make More Sense When You Read the Rest of This Email.
This person is just starting her business. She is having a lot of trouble narrowing down her niche, identifying their pain points, and creating an offer for them. So she created an online questionnaire that she planned to send to people. She linked to the questionnaire and asked for feedback on it.
The questionnaire asked questions like:
- “What are your interests?”
- “Which 3 of these 9 things are of most interest to you?”
- “Which 3 of these 9 things do you wish were a larger part of your life?”
The 9 things that she listed were all green/natural/holistic living things like mediation, eating organic, spirituality, etc.
So I Wrote Some Feedback for Her.
Here Is My Exact Response to Her:
Hi (name removed)! Great job on creating this questionnaire and asking for feedback. That deserves credit as asking for feedback can be scary.
So with that being said… please take my feedback as helpful and not hurtful. In other words, know it’s coming from a caring place 🙂
Ok, so I am interested in green living and live in a super hippy place (Ithaca, NY woot woot!).
I think the over-all questionnaire is too vague. So I would back up and narrow down your expertise and interests first. What are you so engaged in that you could build a legit, long-term business around?
There’s no way you can be an expert in all the areas you list (mediation, detoxing, food, medicine, green design, etc etc etc). So before asking people what their interests are… we need to first identify what you’re an expert in and want to build a business around.
Here’s my concern… people filling in this form will just give you interests. It won’t give you their pain points within a certain market. So your question about finding your target market and creating an offer for them will still stand.
You want to pick your area first and then dig deeper with possible target market from there.
In other words, let’s say that you LOVE LOVE LOVE nutrition and organic foods… start with that and create a questionnaire from that point of view. Ask what their biggest struggles are with organic foods… this will give you more concrete answers than what you have now.
With all of that being said… questionnaires are not the best sources of information. The reason is because you need your target market to take the questionnaire… but to find your target market you need to get into conversations with them.
I hope you find this helpful. I guess my main point is this… first you need to identify your unique strength and interest. From there, identify a population you’d be interested in serving. Then actually talk to those people. Get all up in their grill… they will tell you their issues, obstacles, problems and they’ll tell you what they want (how to solve their issues).
=== END OF MY RESPONSE ===
At this point she agreed with me and said she is struggling with finding her interest. She sent me this from her About Me page on her website and asked me to find her unique area of expertise.
“I created (website/business name removed for privacy) as a resource hub, to gather info, tidbits and advice of inspiration on your personal journey of connection to Nature. Striving to make the sustainable lifestyle choice simpler, handier and sexier.
I am (name withheld for privacy), your Natural Lifestyle Coach. I am passionate about teaching people how to be more in touch with their own nature, live comfortably in their bodies and take care of the Planet… while having fun!”
=== HERE IS MY RESPONSE ===
I still see it as too vague. I personally find this narrowing down to be the toughest part of business 🙂
You’re essentially still saying you’re going to help anyone with anything related to green-ness, nature, being healthy, etc.
It’d be like me saying I help everyone learn how to cook everything. That will never make it as an online business because it isn’t focused enough.
If we pare it down to say I help women cook health foods… well that’s a bit better.
We keep paring down…
I help moms cook healthy meals…
I help moms with autistic kids cook gluten free meals… that’s specific…
Once you get specific you now know who your target market is… what pain points they have… possible opt ins to give them… topics to write about… pitches to media that position you, etc.
=== END OF MY RESPONSE ===
OK so her response is a bit long… but read it carefully… then read my final response and see if you can answer my question.
Here is her response:
Thanks Lynn! Your example of cooking food is very clear.
The question is, how do I go through the narrowing down process? I think I can’t just decide it by myself, if I want to create a service with a market fit That’s why I designed the “broad” questionnaire you read earlier, to get to know better which area of interest and hidden pains are perceived by the general group of “consciously living people”, so I can create an offer to meet them there.
Also, I really appreciate your feedback and I value your opinion, but there is a part of me that disagrees with the direction we are going 🙂 I’m confident you won’t take it hurtfully… My objection is: I understand an online business should be specific to be successful, yet I see the very value of my advisory practice to be grounded in a knowledge that is as holistic and comprehensive as possible.
If you go to a physio because you have pain in your wrist, for example, she will work only your painful joint, but if you go to an osteopath she will start working on full muscle-skeletal system, if not also the energetic one. That’s the reason why people value osteopaths and Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, because it works with the whole system, not only with some parts of it.
Taking this holistic view and going back to what can be my target market, a friend I interviewed told me that a good target market could be people who are recovering from a burnout, for example. They are motivated to change their lifestyle to a more balanced and healthy one, yet they have no idea where to start from – and usually have resistance to change too. Therefore a Natural Lifestyle coach can be very helpful to them.
I never thought about this option before. What do you think?
=== MY FINAL RESPONSE TO HER ===
I’ll just say this… your line “If you go to a physio because you have pain in your wrist, for example, she will work only your painful joint, but if you go to an osteopath she will start working on full muscle-skeletal system, if not also the energetic one. ” holds all of the answers to your questions and cements the feedback I’ve given you above.
I’ll let you figure it out and think about it for a while. I’m not saying I’m right in my feedback to you… just giving your feedback since you asked 🙂 And no harm taken at all… this is fun J
=== END OF MY RESPONSE ===
Ok so, my question to you is this… what is it about this line that holds the key to being a successful business: If you go to a physio because you have pain in your wrist, for example, she will work only your painful joint, but if you go to an osteopath she will start working on full muscle-skeletal system, if not also the energetic one.
Please DO NOT be shy about giving this a shot. There may be more than one answer… and I am curious to know your thoughts. Put your thoughts in the comments below.
I’ll reveal my answer in a few days.
For now… what are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments below. If there are no comments below… be brave ad be the first one to share. Thanks for playing along!