Bigger isn’t always better. In this article we continue the conversation about market niche, by making the case to be even more focused. Do a great job with your clearly defined niche and you will be as busy as you want.
A potential private client calls the ski school office. “I am a 45 year old woman who has never skied. I have some fear issues, but I am eager to learn the sport. I’d rather learn with a private instructor. Who do you suggest?”
This is just one of the many ski instructor niche markets. Quite often, your niche has nothing to do with whether you are a Level 1, 2, or 3. It pertains to your teaching skills with either:
- A specific type of client; never-evers with fear issues, perpetual intermediates who want to get to the next level, racer wannabes
- Mastering a specific type of terrain: moguls, powder ice
- A specific age or gender who wants to work with other people of the same age group or gender
Note the specificity. It’s not just never-evers, or even older Women. It’s older Women, never-evers with fear issues. Not every novice has fear. The same applies to perpetual intermediates. Many are more than satisfied with their current skills. Chances are, they take lessons simply to cut the lift lines.
The person who answers the phone at the ski school desk has two choices:
1. Assign whoever is available at the time
2. Assign an instructor known for his or her expertise with the client’s needs
3. Assign a Level 3 instructor, because they are always better, right?
In the case of this particular client, not really. Many Level 3 instructors are natural athletes. Despite their advanced teaching skills, they may lack the empathy needed to support a not-so-natural athlete. Any Level 2 instructor who repeatedly fails the Level 3 exam because of their skiing skills has definite empathy with less athletic students. But new students don’t know that. You have to make your niche known before they reach the ski school window.
If you are not known for you niche, you might be missing out on private lesson assignments with your favorite type of client. Although versatility is a valuable asset for group lesson instructors, to attract private clients — where the_real_money is — you need to niche down.
Read the rest of the article and learn how to do it.
The Art of Profitable Specialization
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word niche as “a specialized but profitable corner of the market.” “Specialized” and “profitable” are the operative words. You might decide upon a niche, only to discover that it can not possibly make a real profit. Here’s an example.
Let’s say your niche is teenagers wanting to improve their terrain park skills. If you teach at an upscale resort, you might find parents willing to shell out the big bucks for junior’s private lessons. That probably won’t happen at resorts where parents are already strapped for cash. On the other hand, they might be willing to pay for a small group series of semi-private lessons, especially if it meant constant supervision on the slopes. In the long run, you might come out ahead, financially.
Takeaway: The niche down process involves identifying your niche, and identifying the most likely way that clients would pay for it.
Niche Down Step-By-Step
The “this is what I really do” meme often goes viral on Facebook. Despite its humor, it represents a sobering fact: People’s perceptions about what you do is often way off base in terms of what you really do, and what you really want to do. The real key to discovering your ski teaching niche is by listening to the perceptions of your peers. Follow this step-by step process.
Ask your fellow instructors and your ski school director to describe your teaching style in as few words as possible.
Ask your returning students about the most valuable skills they learned in your class. Don’t be surprised if you find a common theme.
Define your ideal student and determine the most valuable things you can teach them.
Test your niche. Talk to fellow instructors, and say “I’m the mogul meister,” or “I conquer fear,” or whatever your niche. If they get it, and if they did not laugh in your face, you nailed it!
Deliver your message. Use social media, and communicate with other staff members. Let everyone know that you are the “go to” person for your chosen niche.