You've probably heard the term Shiny Object Syndrome and possibly even experienced it yourself - hopping from one idea to the next, afraid of missing out on the latest fad or trend, or just being passionate about a lot of different things and being unable to focus on one. Many new business owners (especially those who aren't burdened by inventory or high start-up costs) tend to hop from one new idea to another, trying to satisfy the ever-growing urge to hit upon the perfect idea that will skyrocket their businesses from obscurity to success.
Though the dream is a compelling one, the truth is that no one idea on its own is the golden ticket to business success without a strategic go-to-market strategy, especially for a small business. Unlike larger conglomerates that can invest in multiple subsidiary businesses at once, small businesses don't always have deep pockets that can fund multiple business ideas at once, especially if they are not strategically aligned. This makes it all that much more crucial to focus on one area to develop and grow it to be successful.
With Shiny Object Syndrome, there is usually something else going on that is often ignored. Many times people are genuinely afraid that if they pick one thing and it isn't successful right away, their entire business will fail. Some people don't enjoy focusing on one topic for too long. Many people have the belief that focusing on one area just isn't that exciting. This is where it's possible to use Shiny Object Syndrome to your advantage. Instead of switching from topic to topic, you could channel your natural curiosity and enthusiasm to explore one topic after another within a specific niche.
For example, a nutritionist who is focused on working with vegetarians could learn about the nutritional challenges faced by vegetarian athletes in contrast to vegetarian CEOs. She could talk to vegetarians of different ages, genders, cultures, and language groups. There is no shortage of interesting information to be found when one taps into their curiosity to dig deeper in one area. This curiosity will pay off in terms of helping you discover things that others have glossed over. As you continue to dig deeper, you'll naturally develop not only expertise but fascination as you discover a variety of different aspects under one category.
For a client, this type of business owner is very attractive to buy from because they feel that this person is very knowledgeable about this niche and therefore becomes trustworthy in their eyes. Trust is built upon not only intention but action. When you purchase something such as coaching or consulting services, you want to know that this person is capable of helping you. This is conveyed by the business owner through value-rich content. The depth of insights (not just factual information that can be found elsewhere online) is what separates mediocre businesses from great ones. Your potential client wants to know that you have gone further down the path than they have so they can learn from you. If you skim the surface, you won't have the insights that come from immersion into a particular niche.
Often, people look at picking a niche as a necessary evil of starting a business instead of the powerhouse strategy it can be. If you can take your natural inclination to learn about new things and use that in one area, you can continue to find out things that most people will never know. This is the path to true innovation. More often than not, I hear clients telling me that the reason they are afraid of identifying and sticking with one niche is because they don't really think there's much to a particular topic; there is a fear that they will get bored quickly and that there is nothing new to innovate in that area. This is along the same vein of thinking that there are no new ideas left in the world. However, that's just a popular erroneous belief.
In fact, there's been an ever-increasing amount of innovation. Each new technology spurns the seeds for another. This is true in every field. What we know now about human behavior and human abilities is absolutely fascinating and yet, there's more to be discovered. As a business owner, it doesn't mean that you have to dedicate the next few years of your life to in-depth scientific inquiry. It does mean that you should probably dedicate at least a few months to one niche and learn everything you can about that topic not merely from an intellectual, fact-finding mission but by asking questions that no one has dared to ask before. Break through constraints by using your other interests and passions to look at your niche in new ways.
Let's look back at the example of the nutritionist who works with vegetarian clients. She could use her love of international travel to tap into communities that have been vegetarian for several generations to learn about how they meet their nutritional requirements from plants native to their geographies. She could inquire about food preparation techniques that maximize nutritional absorption by the body that have been passed down from generation to generation that hasn't been captured into modern texts or into languages that reach a large population.
If you are multi-passionate and tend to have Shiny Object Syndrome, use it to your advantage by digging deeper into one topic rather than wider into many topics. You'll find that this desire for continuous learning and growth will set you apart from others. Remember, you don't need to have all the answers. As a business owner, you can curate information, bring knowledgeable people together, and continue to do research to keep bringing your clients innovative information and insights that may just lead to the transformations they have been seeking all along.
Prema Srinivasan helps women business owners delve deeper into their niche to refine their offerings and create new products and services to grow their businesses. With an MBA and over 15 years of experience in marketing and business strategy, Prema helps her clients utilize powerful strategies for success. www.richnichebizcoaching.com