A niche is part of the market, which, more often than not, is not targeted by the mainstream educational sector. The “one size fits all” teaching market overlooks these potential students and that may be excellent news for you. These available target niches are made up of doctors, youngsters wishing to au pair in the US, university students from engineering avid for high scores on IELTS, pilots looking for international aviation certifications, elders aspiring for new skills, etc.
Focusing on a market niche is one of those strategies that promote a paradigm shift in keeping with private teaching management. It positively changes your client relationship management and reinforces massively aspects such as field authority, pricing and revenue.
You may wonder then: How is the shift from a “‘everybody is your potential client” to an “ELT market niche” really going to be a great idea? Find some benefits as follows:
- Consumers are becoming more and more demanding. In order to live up to their expectations, professionals need to have greater expertise of their areas of service delivery. Keeping up with those valued field experts is difficult if you have too many niches on your plate.
- By determining your niche, you’ll be better able to create more assertive, efficient and powerful communication strategies. This is related to a myriad of aspects ranging from the discourse features you employ in your written and oral texts to strategic aspects such as mission and values and visual ones such as colours, logo, website layout, etc.
- The more specific your niche is, higher the odds there’s no competition there. This is in line with the five continent best seller “the blue ocean strategy” by W. Chan Kim. The idea is quite simple. When there is cut-throat competition, margins are low and survival might be laborious to say the least. Conversely, if there’s less competition, odds are that profitability and business success rate increase dramatically. One way to implement the blue ocean strategy as described in the book is to carve out your niche!
- Efficiency increases as you are now closer to your niched clients and the more you listen to them, better designed your services tend to be. Your expertise and experience will allow you to sharpen your delivery skills. Once you determined your niche, then dialogue with that niche through free content, which meets their needs. This will make your name stand out. You can do that though YouTube, Facebook or any social media (please bear in mind their own limitations). The more relevant your content is and the more present you are, higher the chances that clients are going to come out of nowhere to look for your educational services.
- You’ll build authority faster. Some say that better than being better is being different. It might take decades to cement your name in the “jack of all trades” teaching sector. However, in few years you can become an authoritative reference in your niche. The best part of being an authority is that you’ll be almost like a beacon for your audience. Referrals will come more often and word-of-mouth will be more frequent and efficient.
- You’ll be able to personalize your services on a whole new level and odds are that your sales pitch and sales funnel will show better results! It’s very important that you use needs analysis to gather info for your niche. The more personalization you want to have, the more you’re going to use a needs analysis tool. If you want to delve into the importance of needs analysis you can read our article “What is needs analysis & how it plays a pivotal role in teacherpreneurship”.
As the pool of people who compose your new niche is smaller (and easier to identify) it will be easier to find partners who are directly or indirectly connected to your clients’ source. Remember that it is also through strategic partnerships that we can promote win-win outcomes. Try to bring to your side solid partners! When your service is focused on a niche, this will be much easier!
What are the downsides or inherent risks of “niching” your teacherpreneurship?
- You might become too narrowed down. Do not forget your bird’s view of the ELT. Understand the macro but be a specialist of your niche!
- It might be difficult in the beginning. If you have really linked your mission, values, communication and visual aspects to your niche, do not hesitate to use digital marketing as an ally. Share content in the appropriate social medias, promote your content, design an attractive fan page, use your networking. Don’t be afraid or insecure! As this ancient latin proverb goes, “Fortune favours the bold”!
- Building this expertise might be too demanding. It means hard work, study, time and financial investment. If it were easy, everyone would do it, right? One way to make this ride less bumpy is a mentoring system. Find a field specialist and follow their steps. Be humble and ask for their assistance. If you never ask you’ll never know the answer, right?
How can I find my niche then?
The first step is to find your market niche! If you fancy teaching anyone, from toddlers to senior sts, that’s fine. On the flipside, you may lose many interesting opportunities that working in a niched market allows. You ought to:
- Make a wish list! Identify your preferences and compare your choices with your pedagogical fortes. One may argue that teaching kids is great but I reckon not everyone has the necessary skills to do that. Loving kids is one thing, teaching them may be a completely different story;
- Analyse how many authoritative figures are there in that market. It may be that the demand is greater than the offer;
- Focus on what you lack and find ways to bridge the gaps. You may need to read some books, do some courses, attend webinars, workshops, subscribe to Braz-Tesol, be an avid reader of Brelt posts, you name it. Remember that nothing grows in the comfort zone!
- Talk with people from the ELT market you trust and want your very best. Remember that we are biased by our very nature and having a true mate to play devil’s advocate is not only a good idea, it’s a must!
- Create an inventory of your resources that will help you in becoming a specialist. This may vary from books, articles, connections, videos to anything that will lay the groundwork for “niching”. It’s important to be realistic. Teaching English to doctors may be interesting for some though it will demand specific knowledge not too easily available to anyone.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Please feel free to share your views down below!
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