AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Oct/12

9

IC Week: Matt Feldmann on Small is Beautiful–Focusing on a Niche for your Practice

Hello, I am Matt Feldmann, the principal researcher and owner of Goshen Education Consulting, Inc. We focus on educational evaluation for clients in Southern Illinois. Establishing a service or content niche is one way to be successful as a small independent evaluation firm. I define a niche as a clearly delineated specific opportunity for your evaluation talents that is currently underserved.

Hot Tips:

  • Clearly identify yourself. Most organizations do this by defining a mission statement. This is important to provide a static understanding of: who you are, who you want to serve, and what you are good at (or want to be good at).
  • Clearly identify your potential clients and their needs. This is done by developing a thorough understanding for the services they provide and operating within the framework of what drives your clients to succeed.
  • Target your specific niche market. A specific niche market is that well researched opportunity that is not properly served by you or others and provides you the opportunity to expand your services to further meet your mission statement. A specific niche evaluation service will provide an evaluation solution to your client that exceeds their expectations and creates a “halo effect”, i.e., opens the door to additional opportunities to serve your clients and others like them.
  • Get the word out. You will need to identify the marketing approach that is best for you, but remember you need to be very public (yet not obnoxious) about your evaluation solution.
  • Expand the niche and identify new niches. By expanding one niche evaluation opportunity, you are given an unbelievable opportunity to learn more about your clients, to develop supportive relationships, and to learn more about how your services and talents could further benefit your clients.

Lesson Learned: Stick to your guns. You should not waiver on your service niche if you have properly identified yourself; your potential client’s needs, and have a clear understanding for their needs.

Rad Resources: The following will not be found in most evaluators libraries, but are invaluable resources that can easily be applied for evaluation organizational development and niche identification.

  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore is an invaluable resource that can be easily applied to evaluation organizations that want to clearly specify and develop their services.
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins provides organizations with seven researched ways to develop a solid organizational approach.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Independent Consulting TIG (IC) Week. The contributions all week come from IC members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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2 comments

  • LAWG Week: Matt Feldmann on Illinois as the “Local Area” · AEA365 · July 8, 2015 at 3:08 am

    […] suburbs of the city. Illinois is my home and the focus of my niche practice, a topic of a previous AEA365 post from October 2012. This post expands this on my experiences as a regional evaluator and ideas […]

    Reply

  • Jane Davidson · October 10, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Great post, Matt.

    I think that “who are you as an evaluator” question is so critical. There are too many out there that sort of imply they can be all things to all people, or that really evaluation is just one “thing” and they are “it”.

    An important part of defining who we are is being very clear about who we are *not*. I blogged on this topic a while back too, so it’s great to see some like-minded thinking from the other side of the planet!

    From the Genuine Evaluation blog:
    Lifting the quality of evaluation #2: Capable evaluators who know their ‘space’ http://genuineevaluation.com/lifting-the-quality-of-evaluation-2-capable-evaluators-who-know-their-space/

    Cheers!
    Jane

    Reply

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