5 Steps to Finding a Niche for Your Creative Business and Why it Matters
Whoever said “the riches are in the niches” was a wise business owner and probably pretty fun at parties.
For art brands, finding a niche for your business will lead you to the clarity and focus that propels small businesses to success.
It’s that thing you have been looking for that you may not even know you need to find.
It’s that secret sauce I am always talking about with my clients and on my Instagram feed.
What is a Niche?
If you aren’t familiar, a niche is a defined, targeted product, service, or idea that fills a desired need in a market.
To make it simple, think of “fruit” as a category of the market. Bananas would be the niche.
You get it.
It is a subcategory of a bigger category, allowing a more tightly defined understanding of who the product or service is for.
You can break those categories down even further to really refine a niche.
Not just apples, Honeycrisp apples.
Not just grapes, Cotton Candy grapes.
The further you refine those categories, the more clear your customer avatar becomes.
If you can become crystal clear on what you sell and why, you also get clarity on WHO will buy what you sell. That clarity is literally the key to the door to success for a small brand!
Why Does a Niche Matter?
The reason a refined niche is important for any small business is very simple; you just cannot serve everyone.
Everyone is not the market you want to cater to.
Everyone is NOT your customer.
You cannot be all things to all people. You can’t even be most things to most people, nor should you want to. It feels counter-intuitive, right? You might think that if you offer many things that appeal to many people, you have a better chance of selling something.
What you end up with is a vague marketing message that appeals to no one. Ouch.
By creating and refining a niche, you have the opportunity to be a big artist in a small category. You can stand out, be a powerhouse, and speak only to the people who want to hear what you have to say. That targeted message will get you the sales you are looking for and allow the people who need or want your product to find you.
But that’s not all! Not only is a niche necessary for defining your message and offers, it can help your small business become:
Doesn’t that sound like an awesome list of words to describe a business? I know you want those things for your creative business, too.
5 Steps to Define and Refine a Niche
You are probably already making things that could be considered a niche product. A particular piece of furniture, style of art, a specific consumable product, or maybe textiles. Whatever you are making, it probably feels like something quite specific already. In order to really take advantage of a niche market, you need to refine your ideas even further to make them stand out in a busy art market.
To become that big fish in a small pond, you need to take your art to a place where it feels truly unique in its style, design, theme, and/or presentation. Let’s talk about some actionable steps you can take to refine what you do so you can slide into the perfect niche for your art brand.
1. Make a list of your most favorite things.
By taking some time to explore what you love, you will find opportunities to apply those things to your art. Maybe you are a carpenter by trade, but you also really love the beach and coastal themes. If you combine those things and, for example, make a rocking chair that is engraved with coastal elements, you have a refined niche for your art. Now that product will surely resonate with someone who also loves coastal themed things… and, POOF, you have a customer.
Applying your favorite hobbies, themes, styles, and interests to what you make will be both enjoyable and profitable. Not only because you like the themes and styles you are using while creating, but because those same things will speak to the target audience you have been searching for. It’s the secret sauce you needed all along!
2. Answer these questions to further explore interests that could unlock opportunities to refine your niche.
What do you dream of doing all day?
What do you do on the weekends?
What kinds of movies do you like?
Who is your favorite band or type of music?
What are your most treasured possessions?
What is your favorite pastime?
What do you spend your money on?
When you go into a bookstore, what section do you beeline to?
What are you super book smart about?
3. Study your list and think about creative ways you can combine them.
This is where it really starts to get fun! Now that you have a list of things you love, start exploring how to integrate those things into your art.
T-shirts for Jane Austen lovers?
Flower pots for succulent collectors?
Soap themed for the cities in your area?
Hobo bags for Coldplay fans?
The possibilities are bound only by your imagination at this point.
While doing this step you should also consider the market for your ideas. Could you combine your favorite thing + your art in order to solve a problem? Who is the target audience that could benefit or enjoy this combination? Where do you connect with those people?
There is a lot to explore here, so take your time and give this some thoughtful consideration to ensure that your idea is a marketable one. The next step will help you further delve into the potential of your ideas.
4. Take to the web.
Once you have a solid idea for a refined niche product in mind, get online and start researching its potential. Google keywords and phrases that are relevant to your idea and take note of what you find. Is someone already making this? Can you do it better? Is there a platform or marketplace that is appropriate for this product? Are people spending money on this type of thing?
These steps will get you the details you need to make an informed decision on the marketability of your idea. During this step you may find you need to go back to the drawing board, and that is okay. This is a process, and it might take you several tries to find a combination that is both exciting for you as an artist and marketable.
5. Get to work.
Once you have refined a niche for your products and explored its potential marketability, you are ready to start creating!
Try out this exciting new combination and see what happens.
Make some prototypes and samples.
Get into the studio and start developing the process of making these new products.
Take note of things that work and don’t work as you are creating. Is this product cost effective to make this way? Could you do it better or faster another way? Do you enjoy making it and will you be excited to sell it?
This step is where it all comes together. You can now hold that niched-down product in your hands to determine if this idea was a golden one or maybe you need to rethink it before you take it to market.
This would be a great time to seek out some feedback from people you trust. Have a conversation with a mentor or coach about what you have designed. Take that feedback to heart and consider it an opportunity to refine your idea even further.
If you need someone in your corner while you go through the process of defining and refining your niche, I would love to be your champion. Schedule a call with me to get started!