Big Fishes and Micro-Niches


Seth Godin posted a rather short, but important blog post about the ‘Big Fish Theory’.

In the post he suggests that those companies in a position of market leadership attract more customers, be simple virtue of being the market leaders. By being the market leader, you become the least risky option and are perceived as easier to work with.

This makes a lot of sense, and for us at Candle Digital was a major driver behind our name change a few months ago. We’ve certainly seen the benefits in terms of awareness and number of clients (we call them partners) we’ve brought on since.

A good friend of ours (and my first boss many moons ago), namely Roger Masterson, has become the go-to expert on luxury holidays in Scottish and Irish castles, and in turn is often referred to as the ‘Castle Man’. He spotted a micro-niche, built a strong business and brand around it and now spends most of his time taking American TV crews around Scotland.

Godin’s blog also echoes writings we have seen from Daniel Priestley. He talks about micro-niches in his book Key Person of Influence, with a particular focus on combining expertise from two specific areas to become the only person in that space.

There are two ways to become market leader. The less obvious is to shrink the size of the market you are playing in, or as Godin states “… pick a small enough pond”. Once you’re in that space, there are increased work opportunities (as you’re not a generalist), and in turn you’ll get better at what you do, build your reputation and create trust among your audience.

So if you’re a training provider struggling to become a market leader, think about how you can:

  • Reduce the size of your “menu”. Take a Gordon Ramsay approach and chop two-thirds from what you do (you don’t necessarily have to stop doing the other work, you just aren’t talking about it).
  • Combine training niches to become an expert in a specific area. After all, it’s easier to market the ‘only’ than it is to market ‘the best’.
  • Andy Jack

    Andy Jack

    Andy loves helping subject experts, authors, speakers, coaches and key persons of influence to monetise their expertise with online learning. When not on his laptop, he'll usually be found up a mountain!

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