- Understand why you should specialize
Everyone wants a specialist. If you need brain surgery will you seek a
generalist or a specialist? It’s the same in business. Specialists make more
money, become better known and receive repeat business more often than
generalists. It also makes planning, branding and marketing much easier.
- Start with your passion
What are the fields or industries that you are drawn to? What will get you
excited about reading an industry rag on a Saturday? What industry will you
follow in the business pages daily? If you have a passion for it you will do
much more to be successful so start your thinking here.
- Intend to become the "Guru"
You can choose a niche based on Industry or the specific position title but
it must be fairly narrow in order for you to become the guru. For instance
"IT" is a broad category, "Software developers" is narrower and "Java
Developers" is very narrow. You could become the expert in recruiting “Senior
Managers for Amusement Parks” or "Executive Directors or Non Profit
Companies". Your marketing efforts then take on a new level of enthusiasm
because you are talking to people in an area that you feel competent and
- Look to the past
Another important thing to consider is your past experience. You will have
more credibility and an easier time learning the ropes if you have some prior
link to your chosen field.
- Swim downstream
No one can accurately predict exactly what will be a robust niche 10 years
from now but you do want to find a field that has positive growth
projections. Sales and marketing are areas of every company that tend to be
more recession proof than others are. Try to pick a niche that combines good
growth projections with an area of interest for you. Beware of "hot" fields
that everyone else is running toward.
- Begin your research
Once you have a couple of areas picked out, locate as many of the industry
publications within the field as you can find. Immerse yourself in the trade
journals so that you can quickly get to know who the players are, what the
trends are etc. Also, compile a list of all of the companies in this field by
using guides such as Dunn & Bradstreet or the Thomas register. Gather info on
specific companies and look to see who’s hiring and who’s stagnant.
- Find the appropriate associations
Associations are an excellent source of information about a niche. If an
association does not exist for the field you are researching then you
probably don’t have a viable niche. You must be able to find a place where
your prospects will gather and hang out. Contact the associations and ask for
their advice and perspective.
- Consider fee size
If you are choosing a niche you might as well pick one that will pay juicy
fees. Some niches have odd histories of only paying a flat $10,000 fee or low
percentages. Be sure to research this before you get too far.
- Conduct a survey
Once you’ve selected a possible niche, it’s time to make some calls to people
who can give you the inside scoop. Call senior people within these companies
and conduct a survey with them and ask about growth projections, areas or
most critical need, relationships with recruiters etc.
Generally speaking, the problem with specialization for most consultants is
not that they are too narrow but rather that they are not narrow enough. Go
deep into your chosen niche so that you can gain the benefits of name
recognition, momentum and credibility. Feel free to contact me if you have
questions about this process.
Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching
company that assists Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in generating more
profit in less time. His free monthly e-zine, "Creative Recruiting" is
designed to help you to attract premium clients, generate more profit, and
still be home in time for dinner. Subscribe today at www.therecruitinglab.com or via
email to firstname.lastname@example.org. His new audio program, "How to
Overcome Cold Call Reluctance" is also available online. For more information
or to schedule a complimentary coaching session, visit the site or call