How to create your niche in 6 easy steps

I was invited to speak at the Women’s Infrastructure Network’s second UK event yesterday, along with Christine Jones of TigerMouth. My topic was ‘creating your niche’, and I shared my own journey in setting up a successful business, and gave tips for raising your own profile, whether you are starting a business or even job hunting.
Here are the six steps:

1. Who do I know?
2. Where are they?
3. What do I know?
4. What makes me unique?
5. What do those people I know trust me to do for them?
6. Where do I find more of these people?

1. Who do I know?
Consider:

  • Current colleagues
  • Previous colleagues
  • Clients
  • Suppliers
  • People you have met at events
  • Common groups
  • Friends.

And make a list.

2. Where are they?
Now it’s time to go back through your list and note down which industry/sector each of those people work in. Identify where you know most people. For me, the 80:20 rule definitely applied, 80% of my existing network worked in the Built Environment sectors.

3. What do I know? Think about your CV – what would you highlight? You might like to build your own ‘asset register’, where you list all the skills and strengths you have.

4. What makes me unique?
This is where I started to ask those in my network – it was a bit scary, but they came up with things I hadn’t really considered, such as:

  • ‘The expert in bringing people together’
  • ‘She builds people’s confidence, makes them believe in themselves’
  • ‘Takes time and listens’
  • ‘Able to quickly understand the culture(s) of an organisation and gets under its skin’
  • ‘Has that rare skill of taking people on a journey of change in a way that makes them feel a valued part of the process’
  • ‘She’s well-known and well-respected in the sector’
  • ‘She knows what challenges we face as leaders’

5. What do those people I know trust me to do for them?
Once again, time to be brave and ask those who work/have worked with you. You’ll be quite surprised. My list went like this:

  • Be a trusted advisor and confidante to their leaders and future stars
  • Create real transformation in their businesses, e.g. in bidding, service provision, people development
  • Maintain confidentiality, yet be able to share best practice
  • Keep them up to date with what’s happening in the sector
  • Connect them with others – help them raise their profile

6. Where do I find more of these people?
I focused on two areas here, offline and online.

Offline

  • Training courses
  • Writing articles for trade publications
  • Ask for introductions
  • Industry events

Online

  • LinkedIn (join relevant groups and start contributing)
  • Twitter (share information that is useful to your followers)
  • Blog and guest blogging
  • Industry websites in your area of expertise – for me these were e.g. BSRIA, RICS, BIFM, FMA, CIOB, www.networkwithbifm.org.uk
  • Create bespoke E-newsletters for your audience, like Let’s Talk FM.

Want to know more? Contact Liz Kentish, The FM Coach on Tel: 01778 561326 / 07717 870777 or email: coach@lizkentishcoaching.co.uk

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