In my journey of self re-discovery, I decided to revisit my business plan on Friday 29/10/10. After copying and pasting a make-shift executive summary online and tweaking it to suit my company, I got bored. I began to ask myself ‘what exactly are the services my company currently offers, can offer and hopes to offer in the future’.
This was a fruitful exercise as it allowed me to produce a long list. I learnt that my skills set was vast and just on my own, my experiences over the last 25 years mean I have many areas in which I could branch into at any given time.
However there was something unnerving that made me stop the exercise that day.
I was becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. I had no niche market. I know a decent amount about a variety of things because I am a big fan of research. Every new project I embark on starts with me researching it to death until I am knowledgeable enough that I can meet with a leading expert in that field and have a logical conversation with them whilst asking them challenging questions.
At the Key Person of Influence Seminar, Mike Harris, founder of Egg, First Direct and Mercury Communications hit me right where it hurts by honing in on exactly this point. He taught us about the importance of a perfect pitch which starts by knowing who you are and what you do in a niche market.
He shared with us 3 pitfalls with many people’s elevator speeches.
- They chose to pitch something which had no differentiation their competitors
- They were unclear in their pitch
- They picked something that was weird.
At least I can say most of my ideas aren’t weird. He then made us pitch ourselves to 3 people in the room for 90 seconds. My pitch went something like this:
My name is Elizabeth Babatunde. By day I am a medical doctor, the rest of the time I spend doing 2 things. One, working on projects with my youth mentoring organisation and two, writing and publishing books’.
Needless to say, the other guests were more than surprised. Two people were very impressed, ‘You are brilliant, well done’; they said. One lady, with her nose stuck up in the air retorted to me, ‘so what exactly do you do, what is your niche?’ she asked. I had no answer for her and that was the bitter truth.
I haven’t clearly found my niche although something tells me I probably already operate in it. I just need to define it.
Something Mike said that will stick with me forever was along the lines of when people are looking to differentiate their products, they tend to recreate an old solution or re-package or recycle a previously used idea. However one of the keys to differentiation he gave us was the value of a niche market. You target your product at a specific group or audience.
I can see how creating a new mobile phone network would be hard to market in an already saturated industry but creating a mobile network specifically for Eskimos in remote snow filled areas would be extremely successful within that niche if enough Eskimos needed the service.
Mike went on to share the engaging of hearts and minds when giving your pitch. He highlighted 4 key questions to address when appealing to people’s minds.
- Having clarity in what you’re saying
- Having credibility to say and make claims you are claiming
- Having a problem you are trying to solve
- Having a clear plan as to how the services/products proposed will be delivered
He ended by highlighting that ‘Being Iconic’ in your chosen field was about who you are not what you do.
So the question I went back to God to ask was, ‘who do You want me to be?’ By the end of the day, I had my answer. Keep reading, we might get there.
May God bless and keep you in His presence forever, Amen
Dr Elizabeth F Babatunde
Get my book at www.fearnomorebook.com