Part 22: Deciding on your Niche Area; The RIM Process.

Helping people find their niche is one area that I work with when it comes to training entrepreneurs. It is also one of the ways I use when I help trainers whom I coach to make decisions on which area of expertise they want to choose as their niche area and especially if they have more than one option.

I get my students to use a decision matrix which involves evaluating each option base on the following criteria; Readiness, Interest and Marketability/Viability. I call this the RIM process. They first go through a process of listing down their experiences and expertise. The next step is to list down their interest and areas that they are passionate about. From these two lists they then list down their possible subject/areas of training (when it come to trainers) or list the business options they have. Then they evaluate each of these options against the three criteria.

This criterion matches their possible options against their present capability, competencies or experience. If the option is some thing they can start doing tomorrow then they could give themselves high points for readiness. If they are not ready and it would take some time then they would need to put a lower score for this. Low score does not necessarily mean that this option will be eliminated. It just means that more work, research and thoughts need to put on to this idea.

It is therefore possible that we might want to do something that we are not ready for but we are very interested in. In which case we need to put efforts to develop the area. We will need to talk to people in that field or study existing successful models.

When we choose areas we want to work on, interest and passion is definitely an important consideration. The exception is if you are ‘hungry’ and you need to make it work fast or if income is a concern. In which case you may choose to do what you are not interested as a temporary endeavor. However some people might tell you that they don’t really know what their passion is. Not surprising although if you are in that situation, it would be quite ‘tragic’. I would suggest that you would require to go through self-discovery process and you may need help from a coach. Evaluating interest level would help us determine future possibilities.

Marketability/ Viability:
This criterion would best be evaluated with help from experts or coach. I always tell my students that when you are hooked on to an idea it would always be a good idea. Simply because it is YOUR idea. Must be good. Getting a second opinion from the RIGHT person is necessary. I emphasis- the RIGHT person. Some of us may choose to consult our friends. Nothing wrong with that except that some people have this ability to talk as if they know some thing when they actually don’t.

Once the evaluation is done; putting points on each of this criteria saying 5 point for high level and 1 for lower, it is can be assumed that the one with the highest score would then be the best choice. However this is an indicative exercise not conclusive. The other point to note is the assumption that all criteria are equally important. Of course this is not necessarily the case. If there is no weightage given that the assumption is as such. However if it is not the case e.g. if Readiness is more important than Interest because you are hungry then we should assign more weightage to Readiness by putting a multiplier.

This RIM process is at its best help to provide directions and guidance It is certainly not a magic answer to entrepreneurs with too many options to choose from or a trainer looking to find niche area.


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