The more I look into the topic of experts, the more fascinated I become. Today, when preparing to write this article on translation niches, I came across the following explanation:
“The power of the niche is the old “big fish in a little pond” theory. It’s more likely that you’ll become well known for something when you focus in one small area.”
The way I understand it (supported by other sources), the idea behind niches is that it’s a subset of a market where you’re focusing. In other words you’re focusing with a specific service aimed at satisfying specific market needs.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on developing my own niche for my translation services and language services and here are a few steps that really helped me.
1. Make a wishlist of clients
I started browsing the internet first in search for some resources to find out more about my potential niche, and soon I ended up looking at pages of companies I would really like to work with. I could see that they needed my help, that they were in the right market, and that I was able to offer them solutions. I started writing down the names on my client wishlist.
As scary as it may seem, cutting down the areas I work in is an inevitable step for me in 2015. I used to do a lot of legal, business and marketing translations, but now it’s time to narrow down only to Polish-English online communication. This is going to be my main field. During the preparation for this cut, I came across some useful tips on how to find your main point of focus, for example:
– Make a list of things you do best and the skills they’re based on,
– List your achievements,
– Look for patterns in your work.
3. Take the customer’s perspective
The key point in targeting clients in my target niche lies in identifying their real, specific needs. If you haven’t done this type of research before, here are some quick tips to get you started. Assuming you want to research the problems that UK lawyers have when comes to language, start by 1) looking for information on lawyer blogs and on their Twitter accounts – what are their frustrations? Do they talk about them?; 2) Write to 5 people from this segment and ask if they have had any problems or if they can think of any; 3) Ask on 2 lawyer groups on Linkedin; 4) Talk to an expert.
Every business, service or product starts with a customer’s problem. Have you ever thought about translation from this perspective? I haven’t from the very beginning and it was only one of the courses I took in 2012 that made me think like this.
With my new translation niche taking shape, there were some useful pointers that I found out to make sure I’m on the right track. Make sure that your niche:
– Is in line with your long-term vision
– There is a market for it
– Your niche and strategy is planned
– It’s one-of-a-kind service
5. Test and evaluate
The most important part of the plan, something I’m implementing now in January, is actually putting the niche and idea to test. This means investing some time and money into developing the initial offer and sending it out to prospective customers. This is, of course, an essential step before diving into the niche.
Here are a few points of homework I’d recommend if you’re interested in finding your niche.
- 1. Browse through your clients’ websites and make a wishlist of who you want to work with.
- 2. Focus on a specific service for specific needs (“For example, a retail clothing business is not a niche but a field. A more specific niche may be “maternity clothes for executive women.”)
- 3. Do customer research.
- 4. Synthesise your vision.
- 5. Test and evaluate your niche.