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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0931: Should I Expand My Niche into a General Industry?

AP 0931: Should I Expand My Niche into a General Industry?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 931 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody. Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 931 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me here today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have a great question coming in today from Stephen, but before we get to that, I do want to thank today’s sponsor which is FreshBooks, an awesome company out there to help serve you and millions of other small businesses and also me, with helping us manage our business finances from our income to automatically checking our expenses and also to invoicing. What’s really cool about the invoicing feature is you can create a professional looking invoice in less than thirty seconds and I’ve been on both ends. I’ve actually sent invoices using FreshBooks, but I’ve also received invoices using FreshBooks, and on both sides it’s just super easy to use. So, seriously, if you charge anybody for anything and you make your own invoices, just use FreshBooks because it’s going to be that much easier. So use FreshBooks.com/askpat, just check out the thirty day free trial. Again that’s FreshBooks.com/askpat and just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.

Alright, now here’s today’s question from Stephen.

Stephen: Hey, Pat. It’s Steve Christiansen here from ScoopSchool.com. From Australia originally, but now living in the United States. Very grateful for that. Hey, quick question. So, I guess I’ve become a little bit of an expert in my industry of ice cream and frozen desserts training and education. I have a podcast, I do a lot of consulting, I have a Thinkific site, I have ScoopSchool.com that has video-based training, I teach classes, and so forth. Also I have another website called InsideIceCream.com. They kind of crossover; one’s more informational, one’s more education and training.

Here’s my question. So I’ve created this authority in the ice cream industry, but I really feel as though I should be crossing over into the general restaurant or food service industry with the information that I’ve got. I’m putting videos and content online that are very specific to the ice cream business, but the principles are almost exactly the same for restaurants, food trucks, and everything else. Food costs, labor costs, marketing promotions. So, I guess my question is, do I need to refashion, rerecord, re-film all of the content with more of a generic food service application? I kind of feel I need to make that cross over. Anyway, appreciate all you do, look forward to hearing from you. Thanks mate. See you.

Pat Flynn: Hey Stephen, thanks so much for the question. Stephen from ScoopSchool.com, what a cool name and what a cool industry that you’re in. I need to learn more about what you’re doing and how you’ve been able to break through into that because that’s really cool.

Now, should you expand your niche into other industries or the general restaurant industry? I would actually hesitate against going into the general restaurant industry. I think where you stand out and why you stand out right now is because it’s so industry specific. And I think by expanding into general, you’re going to definitely lose a lot of that specificity that makes it attractive to go to Scoop School. So, heres what I would recommend though. I think it’s important for you to expand and grow, but I think you should expand and grow into another related field, not a broad one, but a specific one. A good example of this is a woman named Jenifer who I featured at the end of my book, Will It Fly?. She created a software that was specifically for people who wanted to have their yoga classes streamed to students who weren’t able to come to class; very specific to yoga. And it was called NamaStream, which is a really incredible name actually. So, NamaStream.com and it was very successful software, and she wanted to expand, and she could’ve expanded into general, just anybody who wants to stream anything, but she expanded into another industry that was related, but not in the vertical of yoga, but in the vertical of fitness. And so what I mean by that specifically, and it will become more clear once I say this, she then specifically targeted crossfit gyms and other gyms that were specific to other physical and athletic activity. So, is there an industry that is not ice cream, but also not so broad as general restaurant or food service that you could potentially tap into? Now, I’m sure you’re thinking already of a lot of them. Now, what I would do is map them all out, literally do a brainstorming session, so you can see all of your options out there and find where there may be patterns or there may be ones that you seem to have more interest in or that just need more help and you might be able to find a way to break through into those.

It’s very similar to a story I heard once. It really resonated with me when I first started online. It didn’t really apply to me at first, but I didn’t even have a business yet, but I can see how it can apply and it makes sense. So, the story is there’s a guy who created a bug spray and it was an all in one, can kill any kind of bug, bug spray. So, he sold it as an all in one bug spray and it didn’t do very well. So, he took it home and he repackaged it, and one of those packages, was it was marked as “the best ant killer,” and he sold it as an ant killer and it did very well there. Then, he branded it as a mosquito killer, it did very well there. And as a cockroach killer and it did very well there. And so, I don’t know if this story is true, but the point of it is that when you get specific with your solutions to the pains that people have, to the interests that they have at that time, you’re more likely to make more sales. And yes, you are narrowing your audience, but you are also focusing on your audience too, which means it makes it easier for you to stand out, it makes it easier for you to chat with them, to learn their language, to understand what their pains are in their language without creating something general which could yes, become a solution for them, but not one they’re going to be targeted and interested in.

The other example or other story is, if I’m going to start becoming a serious runner, I’m going to go to the mall and I’m going to see a bunch of different shoe stores, right? There are also those ones that have all kinds of shoes like Shoe Pavilion, but if I’m a serious runner and I want to get the best shoes for my feet so I don’t get blisters and I can run at minimum effort and maximum efficiency, then I’m going to go to a shoe store that specializes in running. Okay.

So, what other than ice cream could you go into within the food service or even dessert industry? For example, snow cones. I bet you could just kill it with snow cones. I’m not even kidding. Especially, that narrows down where you go, it narrows down who you speak to, who you reach out to, who you can sort of tap into, and it just makes it very easy to understand, “Oh, well if I want to start a snow cone company or snow cone mobile, I know where I can get that information,” as opposed to just a general restaurant. That’s not where I’m going to search if I’m going to start one of those things.

Anyway, hopefully that makes sense Stephen, let me know what you think, and I look forward to hearing how everything progresses. I’ve seen you recently on a lot of live streams of mine, and just want to thank you for all the support. So, Stephen, thank you so much. I’m going to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. And for those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show as well, just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page.

So, thank you so much, I appreciate you and here’s a quote to finish off the day by William James: “Lives based on having are less free than lives based either on doing or on being. All right guys, take care and I’ll see you on the next episode of AskPat. Bye.

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