Is Niching Necessary?
You’ve probably heard some version of this before:
In order to build a successful practice, you’ve got to pick a niche.
You’ve got to choose a well-defined, target audience who has a particular problem or aspiration.
But is it true?
To answer that question, let’s do a little thought experiment.
Imagine that you visit your doctor for a routine wellness visit. Because it's been a couple of years since you've had any blood work, gives you a requisition for the nearby lab for a routine blood panel.
A few days after your blood draw, you get a call from your doctor informing you that your fasting blood sugar was 105, considerably higher than ideal. She tells you that you’re on your way to developing Type II diabetes unless you make some serious changes to your diet and lifestyle right now.
You’re shocked because you’re only 15 pounds overweight, and you certainly don’t think of yourself as unhealthy. But the numbers don't lie.
After wallowing in self pity for a few days, you decide to take charge and do something about it. So you start looking for a local nutritionist to support you in making the right changes.
You hop on your computer and Google “diabetes nutritionist YOURTOWN”. A bunch of nutritionists’ websites pop up. You start going through them, one by one.
All of the websites have pretty pictures of colorful fruits and vegetables. And all of them advertise that they support a variety of conditions, which includes diabetes and pre-diabetes, among many others.
But one of the sites really stands out. The practitioner says she focuses exclusively on preventing and managing diabetes. Her website includes dozen of testimonials from people just like you who have moved from “frightened” to “in control”, raving about their positive experiences with her.
Who do you call?
Of course, it’s a no-brainer.
You go with the diabetes expert — not the jack-of-all-trades who does a little bit of everything. You want the best, and the best is the person who focuses exclusively on your particular health concern.
I'll give you another example.
A number of years ago, I was hoping to conceive a second child. But since I was over 40, I knew my chances weren't fantastic, even though my hormone levels indicated it was possible. So I made a plan to do everything I could to boost my chances.
I had heard that acupuncture could be helpful, but had no idea where to go. There are probably 50+ acupuncturists in the county where I live, Marin, and I had never been to any of them.
So what did I do?
Naturally, I googled "acupuncture for fertility Marin County" and the page filled with listings. But one quickly caught my eye. It was an acupuncture clinic that focused exclusively on fertility and pregnancy.
The website included pictures of peaceful treatment rooms, beautiful pregnant bellies, and of course, adorable babies. Even their name emphasized their mission: Nest Acupuncture. I only had to scan the website for a few minutes before being convinced. My search was over. I called to make an appointment.
You should definitely niche.
It’s the fastest way to get found and gain fame. When you become widely known for doing one thing well, you become the go-to person for that issue.
If you’re still not convinced, pay attention and look around at what other successful wellness practitioners are doing.
You’ll notice that one is focused on weight loss, another on allergies, and another on blood sugar control. This one over here specializes in women’s hormones and that one over there specializes in gluten-free diets. You’ll quickly see that it’s true.
I experienced this most dramatically when I consulted for a well-known nutrition and fitness expert. She was focused on weight loss, so she had a broad niche. But her business continued to struggle until she narrowed her focus even further, on ONE particular aspect of weight loss. Shortly after that, things blew up for her (in a good way).
With a tighter focus, success comes faster and easier.
It’s counterintuitive, but I’ve seen it work over and over again.
Now, this isn’t to say that you’re restricted to practicing in only one topic area for the rest of your life. You can always expand and branch out later. But to gain traction initially, you’ll find that the narrower your niche, the faster you’ll make progress.
(Did you think I was going to leave you hanging? Heck no! I did eventually conceive that baby, naturally. He's a happy healthy boy who brings this midlife mama much frustration and joy every day. :)