In this episode, Ashley and Michelle delve into the topic of finding your niche in business. Sharing their experiences of trial and error in the early stages, they emphasize the existence of key steps and growth points that can help you establish yourself within your chosen niche. They also explore identifying target markets, defining a unique offer, and conducting thorough market research before entering a specific industry.
Listen in as they break down the importance of staying open to change and paying attention to opportunities that arise, as clients and people often express their needs. You’ll hear valuable advice on enhancing business performance and discover how to differentiate in a way that genuinely captivates people.
This Episode Will Cover:
• How to find your gap in the market
• The importance of being open to change
• How to follow leads appropriately
• Why you must do research on your competitors
• How to identify your target market
• The power of good communication
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Episode 6 coming in two weeks!!
Learn More About Ashley, Michelle, & Simply Home:
Episode 5 Transcript:
Welcome to episode five of The Simply Home Podcast. Today we are talking about how to find your niche in business or niche in business, however you say it. And, um, A lot of what we went through in the beginning was a lot of trial and error, but what we have found looking back, that there are really some key level steps and, um, key level kind of growth points that really can kind of get you situated in your niche.
That's what we listened to. And then as we move through the months, the days, the years, it was just listening to our clients like, is this actually a gap in the market? Is this something that we not only think is great, but they think is great? And to me it's, it's listening to the people. Your clients or your potential clients, it's listening to your gut and it's listening to the universe.
And I know that gets hippy dippy, but I think, I think opportunities present themselves in the universe no matter what you believe in. And I think that people and clients or potential clients will tell you exactly what they're looking for and exactly what they need. And if you ask the right questions and you really do a deep dive, you'll get.
Answers. I don't know that everyone knows exactly what they need, but I feel like with a lot of question asking, it'll get you to understand what exactly they need. And then of course, I think, um, your gut, you know, like, does this feel right? Is this really difficult? All the time. Not just in, not just in like tough moments, but is it difficult all the time and is this a really hard thing that people just don't want?
Mm-hmm. Or is it something they want? Yeah. I think you bring a, bring up a good point with the feedback part of it, because that was kind of my, when I was over thinking this kind of how to find your niche is, is getting constant feedback. And we still get it to this day from our clients and from our team.
Of how we can be better. But I think your feedback that you were getting from clients, like what they wanted was kind of your market analysis. Mm-hmm. Where you were like, didn't even know you were doing it, you know? But, um, I think it's interesting because you might think, like in the beginning you might think, this is what I wanna create and this is where I want it to go.
But the feedback that you get could really direct you in a different way. And it's not, maybe doesn't have to be so drastic, but you might think like, oh, I know what clients want. And then they start giving you the feedback and you're like, oh, you actually want this. That's so interesting. I would've never thought, but let me target to that.
Um, so I think that that's huge. You really have to be open to change in the beginning. Mm-hmm. You know, and we both are, we really are still to this point. But, um, I think that's what, uh, has made the business work so well over the years because we were very, very open to anything. Like, probably so much so that we were really open to like all of the feedback we were getting and we wanted to be better every single day from it.
Yeah. And it setting your business up so that you're always getting feedback because I feel like in a way we're always getting feedback in a good way. Yeah. We, we are open to it. We invite it and so clients. Always share feedback with us. Like, yes, I really liked that and here's why. Or I would've preferred this way and here's why.
And I feel like if you're not open to it, people know and they can sense that they're not gonna share. Yeah. And not only, I mean cuz we have it throughout the whole process in a way, but then we officially have like our survey at the end of the project. Mm-hmm. Right? Where you're going to collect the closeout.
Meeting, meeting review form, you're going to collect. But it's not the person. It's not the people that they worked with. Right. Which I feel like creates a totally different opportunity for feedback because they don't feel like they're hurting feelings. They don't feel like they're calling anyone out.
They can be totally honest. Yeah. With you when you do that? Yeah. That has been key to not have the team that worked on that project there, and it's only because it makes the client feel more comfortable. And I really phrase that meeting like, so we do that at every project, at the end of each project. And I wanna, I intentionally wanna do it in person because I think it speaks volumes to say like, I, you're really important to me and I wanna spend this time with you because your feedback is so important.
Um, But I also make sure to phrase the beginning of that meeting to say, listen, we really love feedback and we don't take it personally and we wanna hear the good, the bad, the ugly. Because then I go back to my team, we talk about it, how can we adjust? Oh yes, that's a good point that she saw that. I didn't know she caught that.Right. So you're constantly, um, in this like improvement mode. And that's really what I tell the client is like, Hey, this is not personal. You could totally love this person as a human being, but. Here's some feedback of what we could do differently on a future project. Yeah. It's really great. And now, and we don't, I mean, we, we don't truly know how something impacts someone, right?
Yeah. And I think these are the keys to making it, making your business better and better and better of really digging in and finding out and being curious. What did. What did land with them really well. Yeah. Right. Because what if you're investing all of this time, and it could be in any capacity as an individual or a business.
What if you're spending all this time, you're spending your wheels on something that gets back very little, you know, like the return, yeah. What, what am I trying to say? The returning like an effort. The return in efficient, right? Like the output you put in. Yes. Put out is that, You know, you work so hard and you put so much effort into this, and then to know that it's not even going in the direction it should be going.
Right? If you're putting in this much effort, right, and you're only getting out this much, right, but then you do, you know, 2% of effort on this and it has an 80% impact, o obviously you're gonna wanna spend more time doing this, right? For sure. Yeah. It, I feel, I dunno why, but in my head that kind of aligns with like, How you follow leads.
You know, like if you're getting a ton of leads from this source, you should invest your time into this source. Yeah. And I feel like that's the same with processes and to-dos and tasks in the company. You should be investing time in those things that have high impact. Mm-hmm. Not the things that have low impact.
Right. And that's where we find out, or like these closeout meetings clients and say, this really meant a lot to me when you guys did that. Mm-hmm. And we might be like, oh, that took five minutes to do. Mm-hmm. Why wouldn't we do more of that? Right. You know? Mm-hmm. It's so true. I think that kind of ties into like in addition to kind of how to find your niche in the beginning is, is there a problem to be solved and.
You know, I think for you when you first started was obviously there was a problem because, well, there was just a need, right? Maybe it wasn't a problem, but it was more of a need that didn't exist before. But then you having the ability to say, yes, there's also contractors out there, but what are they doing so I could do be different.
Or where can I fill the gap of what they're not doing, you know? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So, um, You know, I, there's, there's always like more, like there's brilliant ideas to be had all day long, but if it, if there is a need for it, and if there is someone already doing it, great, but what are they not doing or what are they doing that, that could be better because then you become your, their direct competition and you could totally like change the game because you're doing it better.
Yes. And it, you did just remind me too, one of the things I was thinking about was I. Saturated markets, right? When there's, it's like economics 101, where if you see some, if you see a gap in the market, then that's great, right? Pursue that, but also be aware of what is a super saturated market when there's already 30, 40 companies doing something really well.
Right? And it kind of reminds me of, for some reason, like a, a ride share company, right? Like at this point in the game. You would have to differentiate yourself so much. Mm-hmm. And you'd have to find a gap in the market that people would want to go with a new company than just not thinking and going with like Uber or Lyft.
Right? Yeah. Most people know Uber or Lyft. So for a company to enter into the marketplace now, it's already so saturated. They already have a huge amount of the market share. I could imagine. I haven't done any research, but Right. That's what I think of. Right. Is like also being aware of the market that you're entering into.And part of that is doing a lot of research initially, which ties into the competitive analysis. Like you need to be doing research on your competitors and you need to be understanding what is out there and what am I competing with, and do I actually differ all that much. Mm-hmm. Right. Because why wouldn't someone just call or go to the company they already know?
Right. That takes a lot of effort to like, Get reestablished with a new company. Yeah, that's a really good point. Cuz you know, a any idea or any business, it doesn't have to be new and like, oh, no one's ever thought of this before. I'm building it out of, you know, thin air. I mean, that's also really cool, but also you could just be doing something that already exists, but just better than the competitor.
However, and not to say that a company can't come in and be competitive with Uber and Lyft, but you're right, like. You would have to be doing something so drastically different that really draws people in. Like maybe making free rides. Like, I don't even know at this point what would be so drastic of a change.
But you know, like kudos to someone who could like really hone in on that and be like, no, I'm really passionate about this because I believe this is where the future of rideshare is going. Mm-hmm. Whatever. Right? Like pa honestly, like passion creates the impossible. It does because it gets you through. I mean, it's the drive and motivation we've been talking about, and it gets you through all of those rough patches where you don't know if you can continue on.
Mm-hmm. The other thing I was gonna say about the competitive analysis is that even though you don't have a fancy schmancy marketing company you're working with, and in the beginning, I don't think that that's usually a part of your budget unless you know, unless you have investors and you're getting.
Money pumped into you, right? Like that's something I could see being doable. But when you're starting off a small business or you're starting off an idea, in my opinion, what we were talking about earlier is hitting those points of how you can decide if this is your niche, right? And how you can decide if this is something you should pursue.
And then as you grow, we have been able to hire a marketing company or a branding company to. Help us really hone in on what our unique offer is and really hone in on, here are your competitors, here's what they offer, and then here's what you offer and some additional ideas of what you could offer in order to help you stand out.
Yeah. Right. Like you can do a really thorough analysis like they're offering these five things, and these are the five things you guys offer that nobody else does. And then here are some more ideas of things that line up with your values that you could also offer. Mm mm-hmm. Okay. If we could go back in time and restart over from the beginning, would we dedicate.
Would marketing be a key hire in the beginning?
Are you gonna throw a co, a curve ball at me like this? Like in my mind I'm like, yeah. Right. Because we were so focused on building the company. Mm-hmm. Right. We were doing all the ground level marketing ourselves, which was fun. It was cool, but it was obviously super time consuming. So then I'm thinking, you know, you were just saying, well, if you had a company that was like pumping money into you or like investors pumping money into you, I think I would probably higher marketing.
Oh, then yeah. Yeah. If we had, if we had endless amounts of money, yeah. Then for sure. And I mean honestly, now that you say that, I think. Even if we did go back into the back into the beginning stages, I think that I probably would hire someone in marketing. Yeah. But the difference is that I would hire someone that really knows what they're doing and who is really good at what they do.
That number for their salary or for. You know, outside consultant, whatever that is, that number may look really scary. But if those people can deliver and if they have hard deliverables at 30, 60, 90 days, that you can really measure and be like, this is working, which everything has a metric. Everything you can measure, right?
In some form or fashion or capacity. So if they're hitting those, then it's working. Right? You're getting leads. If marketing is done right, in my opinion. And you're focused on, you have a clear goal and you're focused on getting leads, then you know if you're getting leads. Yeah. And like that, that person pays for themselves.
Yes. Essentially. Yes. So they should be. Yeah. But I think in the beginning we were hiring. Yeah, we were hiring people who were so wonderful, but I wouldn't say, I would say that we were paying as little as possible to get to just cover our bases. Yeah. And I don't think we fully understood that if you pay X, you'll get.Five x. Mm-hmm. If you hire somebody that really knows what they're doing. Yeah. We probably actually have lost some money. Oh, I'm sure. In, in that sense. Mm-hmm. With marketing. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You know, because we also wanted, like, our belief was let's hire super green so then we could train them and pay them less.
Mm-hmm. When in reality, you know, now knowing what we know, we, we wouldn't do that again. Yeah, cuz the green cost us a lot of green. The green, wow. That's a word. Yes it did. Hallelujah. Yeah. This is the church of Ashley Michelle. It's a hashtag. Yeah. Come to pray with us dropping words of wisdom here. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What was the other niche sector you had pointed out?
Was that all? Is that all that's in there? Yeah, I think my brain is on empty. Okay. I mean, we were talking about target market. Yeah. And we were talking about how to identify who's your target market as well. I think that can be tricky because you know you have to pay attention, right? Yeah. You have to really listen well.
So remember we did a couple years ago, our ideal client mm-hmm. We named her Kara. She's cute. She's fun's. Kara, it's Kara, which ironically we have a Kara, we do have a car, the, and it's not that car, but, um, she could be that car. But we did that market analysis. And I think that we thought our clientele was different until that came through and now, but so that was a good point, like when we did that market analysis and to see who our client was.
Then we could market towards that client, right? So all of our marketing kind of shifted to, okay, well what is that person in, um, that how old they are, right? Like, what do they want to hear and what they wanna see and when are they logging on to social media? Like that was a big one with our social media team, was that age group logs on at this time.
And so we wanted to make sure our posts were going out at that time. And then that age group is really attracted to these types of like aesthetics. Okay, let's post more of that aesthetic. So it's all kind of, once you get your target client, then all of your marketing goes around that and it's all this like subconscious work happening underneath.
It's like brewing. And then you start getting more of those targets. Clients. Yeah. Marketing is a blessing and a curse depending on how you look at it, because it's a blessing in that we can deliver the information we need to, to inform our target market, our carers of the world. Of what they want and need to hear.
But we're not just, we're not manipulating, I wouldn't say here, it's Simply Home. We're manipulating. I know marketing can feel really manipulative. Mm-hmm. And how it conveys things for different products and services. But we use it in a way of how we create content to inform leads, clients. Whomever is out there of what we're actually trying to do.
Yeah. Right. And you have to say it, you have to convey it really clearly so that someone gets it, which that's all a part of marketing. Yeah, totally. Right here we are thinking, we're saying something and somebody, you know, probably 10 years ago, and I'm sure clients were thinking, I have no idea what they're talking about, and I have no idea what they're saying.
Yeah. Which is rolled into our development of expectations. Right. How are we. How are we moving through our process and continuously delivering clear expectations throughout the whole process? From every step of the way beginning to end, where clients understand what's happening next. They know what's happening next.They've seen the calendar, they. They're not surprised by anything. Yeah. Because we're continuously communicating. I mean, that's all marketing. Mm-hmm. You know? Yeah. It's so true. Yeah. Like the expectations meetings or marketing even like we have weekly client meetings is, you know, we tell our team, even though you're not on the sales department, you're still in sales.
Right? You're still selling yourself, you're still selling your, the company that you're with, and so everything that comes outta your mouth has to make, like, we do a lot of practice of. What is the company language and what are our do's and don'ts that we say and we don't say, because it all revolves around making the client feel comfortable and making them know that we're knowledgeable and we have their back.
And it's one thing for me to say, I. Yeah. I'm a contractor that's not gonna leave your side, I promise. Right. But how many contractors tell people that? And so everything that we do has to physically show them that we're really here and we're not leaving until this is done. You know? Right. And the way they expect it until it's a hundred percent complete.
So it, it all ties into the end product of like what we promised and we're so big on keeping our promises to. Like, not to a fault because I don't think that you can be, but to a point where, okay, if you are gonna promise that to a client, you gotta figure out how to make that happen. Of course we'll be here to help you, but like, do not fault on that.And if you can't deliver, explain when you can deliver it, right? Like it's just. We just don't wanna be the Joe Schmo. Yeah. Like we can't, your commitment is everything. Yeah. It's everything. I liked the, your word is your world that our coach always says, yeah, I love that. Because it's how you set up everything around you.
If you make that promise, if you commit to something, it's how are you gonna deliver that? And then if you can't deliver it, how are you gonna communicate and recommit? It's just constant recommitment, right? Yeah. And so going back to the target market, I think it's important to re-look at your clients every year, right?
Like take a look at your client list of actually who worked with you and actually who was a good fit, who enjoyed their process, who gave you good feedback, right? And I think it's important to realign and ensure every year that. That that is your target market. I mean, I think things can shift. I think a company grows just like a human grows and maybe that target market shifts a little bit, right?
I think it happens. I mean, when we went from make-readys to kitchens and baths to full homes to additions, target markets shift a little and they expand. Right? The same people who do make readies. Aren't necessarily the same people signing up with us to do kitchen bathrooms aren't the same people who sign up with us to do full homes, but they have a general similarity in that they're willing to pay for our service.
They think it's worth the money because it's not something they understand or specialize in. Right. It's worth paying an expert to know at the end of the day. Uh, there's a guarantee. There's a promise, right? And there's a company behind this. So if something, If a vendor gets sick or if a permit error happens, I, we have a whole team of people that understand what the next steps are.
Right. But you as a homeowner, that's not your day-to-day job. To me, I think of it, I think of our job just as similar as, uh, you know, Specialist, like a CPA or a lawyer or, um, somebody that waxes you or somebody that, um, you know, sets up catering or, I mean, no matter what industry you're in, there's a reason that there's so many different jobs and roles and it's because they fully understand what it takes to do that job really well.
Can you hire Bob Bob to come in one day and, you know, Fluff your house up and, and hope it goes okay. Yeah, you can. And the more knowledge and expertise that I think that that will go, that might go better than somebody else who doesn't understand. But it's like, how do you know that they're doing the work really well?
And how do you know that they're gonna come back? How do you know they're not gonna run away with your money? How do you know that? Um, It's not gonna break within a few months, or, you know, is there, how do you know there's a warranty? How do you know that they have insurance? How do you know they're not gonna make a humongous mistake?
Because they actually don't know what they're doing. Mm-hmm. And I'm not saying that any company is perfect. I think there are risks signing up with a one-man show or a one-woman show versus a small company like ours, medium and large. I think there are all sorts of risks, right? Because. Larger companies have more resources, but then you're just a number to them in a way.
Um, I feel like smaller companies, you know, we have limited resources, but we can commit. We can commit to what we can commit to. Right? If somebody's doing what, somebody's communicating what they can actually do, then I think it hits, it hits home. Yeah. And then chasing your word after it. Yeah. Which we've proven time and time again that we will.Mm-hmm. And that we do. Yeah. Um, I think too, like finding your niche with um, niche. Our niche. Okay. Shower niches, you know, it's your, cuz you're used to saying showering, whatevers. Michelle and I decided before this that it shower niches, but then your niche sounds fancier. Yeah. Because we looked up online and we were like, you can say it.
Online told us. You can say it both ways. Yeah. And that it is correct. But shower niches and then niches in the market. Uhhuh. So what you said, um, is, um, I, I think too looking back is like, don't be afraid to say no to clients, you know? And I think not just like no buy, but. When you, when you find your target market, it's not that you can't take on other people outside of that, but I think earlier on I wish we really focused more on who was our target market, who did we enjoy working with?
And what made our jobs more fun? You know, like, you know, when you just vibe with people, it's just fun. And, um, I, I wish we could have gone back and not said yes to everybody because we were so focused on just building the company and growth that we didn't take a step back to say like, is this actually conducive to the company's growth and to the health of our team?
Because if it's not, Like what impact is it leaving on the team and their mental health? Because that's like, I mean, that's huge. And if that impact is negative and it's constantly negative or, or multiple times being negative, then then you're losing your team. Then you've got another problem. Right? So I think that, I wish we had did that a little bit sooner in the game.
I agree. Not saying yes to every single client just because there's a dollar amount next to them. You know, I think sometimes it's easy to get lost in, well, you know, we can hit this revenue target if we still sign them, and it's important to stay focused on, but is, is this going to wear us down as a team?
Yeah. By saying yes to this person and trying to go, there's a difference between going above and beyond and then going, um, there's a difference in going above and beyond. Versus just going outside of your wheelhouse, right? Just to try and help someone in a way that isn't conducive to what your business actually is.
Right? And every time we don't follow our process, we essentially create a gap, or we create a liability or something that I feel like. Let me rephrase. I feel like when we go, when we don't follow our process, we create an opening, which is potentially a liability because we don't have a process for it.
Yeah, right. And because we're not sticking to our process, that is where we've always seen issues. And so we've really stick to our process. I think that that's one of our unique features when we talk about that competitive analysis. We've always had a, a clear process. It's just through the years we've refined it and really followed it.I think that's something we get a ton of feedback on, is that people understand the vision and the path that they're on when they're working with us, and they appreciate the clear process. They appreciate all of our unique added features, right? Mm-hmm. We were able to identify. Okay. If we can control change orders and make sure contingencies stay under 5%, which we always do, then that's a unique feature.
When, so when you're telling someone that you can somewhat foresee the future, you don't know exactly what's gonna come up, but you know it will be less than 5% of their total budget. Once the project has started, then like, Where do I sign? Right. You, I mean, it's huge mean you want, you want that guarantee.
You wanna know what the future is holding for you. And um, and that's something we've always been proud of. Yeah. And I mean, same thing with our material management process, our vetted subs. I think all of these things you figure out through the process as we've talked about this whole episode. So I, I mean, just as a recap, I think it's really listening.
It's serving, it's getting curious. And focusing on your target market. It's looking at your competitive analysis, looking at your competitors, getting feedback. Yep. Always, always getting feedback, testing things out, and not being afraid to change things. Yeah. As needed. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's it. That's, that's it in a nutshell.
That's all we got. Okay. So next week we're gonna talk about our business coach and our experience in coaching and what we recommend when looking for a coach and the positive experience that we've had.