You’ve made some amazing progress in the last few days and weeks, and you should be feeling that your business idea is becoming increasingly real and attainable. In the process of mapping out your business mission statement, vision, and goals, you’ve likely found it necessary to make some adjustments to your original idea, in order to keep the synchronicity between what you want for yourself personally, what you want for your business, and what your customer wants and needs.
If you find that some aspect of your original business idea just isn’t working for you, but you’re still passionate about pursuing it, consider exploring vertical and/or horizontal pathways.
A vertical pathway can be envisioned as moving up or down in the hierarchy of your niche or business model, i.e. going broader (“up”) or more detailed (“down”). This is often referred to as “niching up” or “niching down.” The “up” and “down” do not refer to the quality of the niche or business model – only to the level of detail and specificity, with items at the top being less specialized and those a the bottom being extremely specialized.
For example, if you’re a physical therapist and your original idea was to go into private practice on your own, you might move “up” in the vertical pathway and open a wellness center with a massage therapist and chiropractor, broadening both your niche and your business model. Or you might decide to move “down” in the vertical pathway and specialize in home-care for world-class athletes.
A horizontal pathway can be envisioned as moving right or left on a horizontal field populated by similar niches or business models.
Taking the physical therapist example from above, you might decide not to go into private practice at all and instead write a series of books on the subjects of peak performance and optimal health, or maybe you’ll choose to start coaching and mentoring other physical therapists on how to excel in their own practices.
The great thing about exploring other pathways related to your chosen business is that you don’t have to start over from scratch if you realize that something isn’t working halfway through the planning process. You can often make a few small adjustments to your niche or business model and radically alter the effect your business will have on your life, your income, and your enthusiasm.
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