Using personal experience to find your niche within a niche

Using personal experience to find your niche within a niche
Chantal Gagnon
Chantal GagnonSocolo Ltd

Posted: Wed 15th Sep 2021

It’s great to see so many new start-ups popping up over the last two years. But while it makes me excited about the future, it also tells me that industries are getting oversaturated and it’s harder to stand out. 

Take the beauty industry for example; organic is no longer a unique selling point. Switch the word “organic” with vegan, local, minimalist or sensitive, and you will see the same problem. It’s not niche enough to stand out anymore. 

In this post, I’ll show you how to use your personal experience to pinpoint your target audience and find your niche within a niche. So get a pen and paper out and let's make some mind maps. 

You are your greatest resource

First things first, we need to take inspiration from your greatest resource. That resource is you, because your experiences are unique. 

For now, draw on your personal experiences and make a list of all the insecurities and pain points in your life. Big or small, get them all out. We will be using these shortly. 

Can your industry provide solutions for your pain points?

Now that you have a list of pain points, brainstorm ways your industry can help solve these and alleviate your insecurities. Although your experiences are unique, the solutions can often benefit many people. 

For example, a personal pain point of mine is that I recently injured my wrist and have daily problems opening containers. Providing a solution to this pain point would probably also help people with arthritis or mobility issues. 

Good ideas tend to be based on three things

Good business ideas should invoke passion, improve on a product or service that is already available or be something people will actually buy – not just say they will.

Exploring your personal experience and finding ways your industry can solve your pain points will ground your product in real issues and build a great brand story because you relate to the innovation. 

Here is a simple formula to help you come up with some great ideas. As an example, let’s see how the beauty industry could help me solve my painful wrist problems. 

Your industry + Niche + Personal pain point = Niche within a niche.

Cosmetics + Organic + Wrist pain = Easy-to-open organic skincare.

Let's get more specific by adding a descriptor.

Descriptor  + Your industry + Niche + Personal pain point = An even better niche within a niche.

Luxury + Cosmetics + Organic + Wrist pain =  Luxury ergonomic organic skincare. 

Think I am grasping at straws? I will give you an example to prove otherwise. 

My grandmother loves her skincare but is constantly decanting products into different containers that are easier for her arthritic hands to use. She would be so happy to pay more money for a product if that meant that she could maintain her independence. 

By solving my wrist problem, I am also helping out an audience that tends to be ignored and under served. And by catering to an under-served audience, there is a greater chance of building a strong community of loyal customers and keeping marketing costs low.

Being specific can attract the masses

To shine a light on the value of ergonomics and design for a very specific audience, let's look at the real-life example of the classic OXO Good Grips® Swivel Peeler. 

The vegetable peeler was designed to help OXO founder Sam Farber’s wife who has arthritis. It’s so comfortable to use that it has become one of the top-selling vegetable peelers. 

The highly cushioned handle makes it easy for arthritic hands to use, but also children and the elderly and everyone in between. As a result, OXO has built a loyal following. This shows how a product designed for a very specific audience ended up appealing to the masses. 

Let's try another highly competitive industry like food. 

I’m vegan (not unique or a pain point), but I am allergic to coconut (pain point). Coconut is used in the majority of vegan products, so I have a hard time eating out in restaurants and buying pre-made food. I am also super busy (another pain point) so I would love to not have to cook from scratch so much.

How the food industry can solve several of my pain points is to open a coconut-free vegan food truck or ready meal company, so busy people can quickly eat tasty food.

Think this is too specific and therefore too small of an audience? Think again. 

Less than 3% of the UK is vegan. Yet in the period from 2018 to 2020, the shelf space occupied by vegan ready meals increased from 3% to 16%. That is because non-vegans eat vegan food.

Serving coconut-free vegan food to the public attracts vegans, non-vegans and people who avoid coconut. Let’s look at the formula again:

Your industry + Niche + Personal pain point = Niche within a niche.

Food + Vegan + Coconut allergy = Coconut-free vegan ready meals.

This is still too broad, so we’ll add a descriptor in there:

Descriptor  + Your industry + Niche + Personal pain point = An even better niche within a niche.

Thai + Food + Vegan + Coconut allergy = Coconut-free vegan Thai ready meals. 

Often, niches are not specific enough because brands are forgetting who the product is for. Brands make messaging too broad and try to speak to too many people at once, which causes them to appear generic. 

Finding a very well-defined and specific audience helps to focus your efforts and allow your offering to shine in a crowded market. 

Next steps

As mentioned earlier, once you have established your niche within a niche, the next step is to find out how viable your idea is through conducting market research. 

Get more business advice from experts like Chantal by signing up to Enterprise Nation.

Chantal Gagnon
Chantal GagnonSocolo Ltd
I am a graphic designer, as well as a neurodiversity and inclusion advocate who believes that inclusivity benefits everyone. I aim to inspire and encourage workplaces to make positive changes to become more inclusive.  I am the founder of Socolo; an inclusive stationery for adults with neurodiversities and visual stress which was launched on the 11th of July, 2021 in South East London. I have dyslexia and Irlen syndrome, so please excuse any spelling errors.

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