I was speaking with a coach yesterday who is considering changing her existing client niche and starting a brand new coaching practice with a group of people she has never worked with before. Naturally, she was asking “where do I start?” with such a daunting task. In particular, Chris Barrow has told his clients to choose a niche (with a list, a problem, a solution you can deliver and the money to pay for the solution) – and then come up with what Michel Neray would call some “bananas” – a list of steps/strategies/tactics/secrets – that you can package and deliver. So CB has “8 key strategies”, Covey has “7 habits (now 8)” and so on. But what if you don’t “know your niche?” The answer is to go and listen to them. I am sometimes asked where my own “8 strategies” came from. From 1987 to 1993 I ran my own business as a financial planner, serving the owners of small professional service firms. After we had concluded the technical part of our meetings, they would often ask me to stick around (I was a good listener) and listen to them complain about the problems they were facing in business. For 7 years I listened patiently, whilst hundreds of them told me the same things: 1. no vision 2. no time 3. no money 4. no team 5. no customer service standards 6. no selling skills 7. no marketing systems 8. no balance So, in 1994, when I began to put my coaching practice together, it was fairly easy to come up with the strategies – and they are still serving me well (I’ll be delivering them to an audience of 430 orthodontists in London this afternoon). So, to my coach client yesterday, my advice was “take 200 of your niche out for breakfast, lunch and supper – and ask them what are the most common problems they are facing .” Then they will tell you what your “bananas” are – and you can design programmes to help them.