I received an email from Blake, a business owner in Australia, this morning (at 3am, mind you). He joined an accountability group that is “Pumpkin Planning” their businesses. Each one of the members is located near a major city and has identified an industry vertical, except Blake.
For Blake the nearest populous area is Melbourne, an eight hour drive and at least seven run-ins with kangaroos from his house. His business is in a small town, where there are no more than a handful of businesses in any category. Definitely not enough for him to serve a niche vertical market. He fears his business can’t be pumpkin planned, and that he must stay broad. But that’s not true.
The mistake many entrepreneurs make when trying to focus on a niche, is believing that vertical means industry. You can serve the car repair vertical (industry), or the dry cleaning vertical (industry), or the air travel vertical (industry). And while those are all verticals, a vertical doesn’t need to only be a demographic (something that is externally measurable- like type of business, age of person, sex of person), it can also be a psychographic (the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the customer).
For example, the focus for my own business, as an author, is based on a psychographic. Outwardly, you would think that I write books for “any business owner.” That would be a very broad market and therefore not “pumpkin plannable”. But I actually target the psychographic of “small business owners who feel: 1.They are the underdog. 2.They have inadequate support and resources. 3. And that their business is a platform for authentic self expression, in addition to supporting and expanding their lifestyle.” Those are the folks I target.
My psychographic vertical is narrow. It excludes the “get rich quicks,” the “pump and dumps”, and the “I don’t care what I do, I just love to make money” folks. Not that they are bad people or that they are wrong, they are just bad prospects for me. They are wrong for me. With a psychographic vertical, my business is very “pumpkin plannable.”
Blake is now in the process (at least as of 4am this morning) of investigating his psychographic vertical. Maybe you should be doing the same.