On the Importance of “Niche-ing” Your Mediation Practice

In the connection economy, building mediation business is easier now than it ever has been before.
If you are a professional mediator, with years of experience, a degree and a healthy on (and off) line social network, you can begin the process of defining success for yourself in an upward direction.
It becomes a little tougher if you only have only one or two of those assets available to you, but the fact of the matter is, if you are starting out in the peace building world, there are any number of business models that you could follow to success.
So, what’s holding back professional mediators from establishing thriving private practices?
Dave Hilton has some ideas about why, and he’s started Rockstar Mediator (link here http://www.rockstarmediator.com/) to get people going.
Neil Denny and Jason Dykstra also have some ideas, so they started Get Artisan (link here http://www.getartisan.biz/) and they are doing dynamite work right now in both the US and Europe to get mediators going.
But, what separates them from the community mediation center volunteer or the professional lawyer just “doing mediations” on the side?
The answer is the same as in other industries: A lack of “niche-ing” a mediation practice.
This seems like an obvious step before starting a practice, and in a world where there are divorce, family, child, union, church, corporate, nonprofit, medical, education and even pet mediators, “niche-ing” shouldn’t be a problem.
However, we here at HSCT still run into many mediators starting their practices with the kiss of death statement of “I don’t want to turn away anybody. I think that my talents, skills and passions are for everybody.”
Unfortunately, this inability to say “no,” to fire a client who doesn’t follow through, or just to actively say in a brochure, on a website, or even in a blog, what you are for and what you will not tolerate, causes the failure rate of 95% in the first year for most professional mediators in private practice.
How do you “niche” successfully?
  • Say “no.”
  • Don’t accept just “any” client.
  • Be clear in contracts and follow through on the language.
  • Say “yes” to yourself before anyone else says “yes” to your services, approach, personality, etc.
  • Don’t do a job for free that would be charged for under your fee rates later.
Then, you too can be the next Kathleen Bartle (http://www.kathleenbartle.com/), Denise Coggiola (http://www.dfwpeacemaker.com/), or even Victoria Pynchon (http://shenegotiates.com/).

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

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