You’ve spent a lot of time defining your market, scouting out clients, and building your business. Now it’s time to protect the niche that you’ve created for yourself. While there are many variables that go into protecting and expanding your company’s niche within the market, today we’re going to cover three concepts that are often overlooked.
First, stick to who you are and what you do. Don’t change your business model in an attempt to lure in a big customer that may be looking for services outside of your niche. That doesn’t mean you should turn down work—but be wary of taking on clients and projects that may change the public perception of your company. If you’re willing to work for anybody and do anything, pretty soon you’re not going to stand for anything.
Adding value to your business process is not only essential to stay in business, but if done right can also discourage outside forces from entering your market. These barriers to entry can be created simply by doing something extra that the average Joe couldn’t easily mimic (or wouldn’t want to because it would “waste his time”). You do writing? Offer a free sample. You’re a lawyer? Offer free consultations—and don’t hesitate to refer clients to other attorneys if you think they are better suited for the case. You’re a plumber? Don’t charge for the visit, only for work—and only once the customer is completely satisfied. While these things might seem like they aren’t that big of a deal, they mean a lot to consumers. They also make your services much more difficult to replicate.
Protecting your customers, your knowledge, and your process is essential. Look into signing non-disclosure agreements when it comes to outsourcing any work or for big projects that might involve partnership deals. It may seem unnecessary, but competitors would love to learn anything and everything that they can about you and your business to either replicate it or improve upon it.
You have worked hard to position your company where it is. You’ve built a loyal clientele and you’ve attracted talented employees. Don’t fail to defend your niche!