Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding Your Niche, Part Two

Earlier this week we talked about the word niche, what it meant and how to begin to find it as an aspiring planner. It can be a daunting task if you don't understand what it really is. I came to understand it by having an "aha moment", but the foundation for my understanding of it came from reading about it...literally. I've gain a lot of knowledge about the industry that way. It's really worked for me so my advice? Keep reading!

Read subject matter about business and the wedding industry. Books, blogs, magazines and newspapers...all of them are valuable in some way or another. Some of the information in them won't help you at this particular stage in your business but never stop reading. You may have to re-read a few as you mature in your business.

One book I re-read was given to me about 3 years ago by a mentor. Good to Great by Jim Collins is not a fast read but well worth the investment in time to understand. The book paints a very good picture on what makes a company go from good to great.

There is one thing in particular about the book that stuck with me. Collins talks about something called the Hedgehog Concept. In it he tells the story of the fox and the hedgehog. A fox is a jack of all trades but a master of none. He has many talents, is smart and persistent. In contrast, a hedgehog is slow, waddles when he walks and has one skill. He curls into a ball and pokes out its spines. But he executes that skill very well. He does it so well that the fox can’t beat him.

Collins' study of good to great companies found that they embraced their "hedgehog nature"...they found the basic principle or unifying concept that drives their business and built their brand from it. Everything they do will emanate from that concept and they don't deviate from it. If a marketing or branding element doesn't meet criteria for the hedgehog concept, it gets canned...period.

Finding your hedgehog concept will help you in trying to find your niche and creating a personal brand. First things can't be the wedding planner for all brides or you will end up being a wedding planner with no brides.

Choosing your focus is simple...find your passion and your talent and match them to your market. I know it sounds simple but stick with me...

Draw three circles on a big piece of paper making them overlap in the middle of the page. Name each circle as follows:

Remember the inventory list I told you to make? Insert each of those items (abbreviate if you have to) into the circle they belong.

Now find those things from your list where all of these circles overlap. If you can't, keep writing things down until you do. Once you find that place, this is where your niche is.

Many aspiring wedding planners don't spend time working on these principals. They instead choose to emulate what other planners look like...sometimes even copying verbatim and slapping their own colors and logos on it...and then wonder why they're not getting any business.

When you look like everyone else, you don't stand out. And when you don't stand out, no one sees you...hence, no business.

It's as simple as that.

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!


Jennifer Ramirez-Jasiczek said...

Wendy, love this post. And I am so happy when I plugged my stuff into my circles, it came out the way I wanted it to. It's nice to read something every now and thennn and feel like I am doing it right.

egrego160 said...

Hi Wendy -
We read this book as a part of the Finance Team of my former employer. Love, love love it!
Still applies.

Stacy said...

Wendy,you have given me some really good information and I will implement some of it,but still having a problem finding my niche! Really want to be diffrent from the other planners because you really do hear the same ole thing all of the time.

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