Inside/out Approach to Niche Identification

Attempting to compete in a large market without a clear sense of direction can complicate Niche Creationone’s chances of success. However, creating a niche for oneself can lead to concentrated effort, direct an specific audience engagement and a greater chance of profitability.

Learning Outcome:

In this exercise, students learn to create a niche from an inside/out approach. 

Inside/Out Approach to Niche Identification: 

1. Answer the following: “If you could create anything, regardless of money or struggle, what would you create?

2. Consider and categorize your talents, interests, skills and experiences.

3. Look at your lists and ask, “How can these tools, techniques, knowledge and skills be “repurposed” so as to be utilized in a host of ways?

4. Synthesize each of these (image a funnel with each being placed within).

5. Play with these discoveries with your imagination. What can you create out of these things? Pay particular attention to those things that are of interest to you.

6. Whatever comes out of this imaginative play and synthesizing of talents, interests, skills and experiences–that netted and process stimuli, take a hard look at that, as it may be a project that represents the possible engagement of your potential; numerous talents, skills and interests.

7. If this idea is of personal interest, look to the market for competition and potential marketability.

8. Imagine the resources, identify them, plan and start-up.

If you would like to use these games in your own classroom, please do! If you do, let me know how it goes and if you have suggestions for modifying a game. 

I can be reached at

This game/exercise appears in the book “Educating Arts Entrepreneurs: Does, Can or Should One Size Fit All?”. If you choose to use this game by Jim Hart, please cite in the following way:

Beckman, Gary D. and Hart, James D. Chapter: “Educating Arts Entrepreneurs: Does, Can or Should One Size Fit All?” In Embracing Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines, authored by Satish Nambisan. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2015.



About James Hart

Jim Hart currently serves as Interim Chair of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship & Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts. Hart is also the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway.
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3 Responses to Inside/out Approach to Niche Identification

  1. Katie Brown says:

    Hi, Jim- This reminds me a lot of something I came up while teaching Music Entrepreneurship at USC (Gamecocks). I use a 5-pointed star, and in the center I write “opportunity.” Each point has a category: Musical Skills, Non-Musical Skills, Interests, Needs/ markets in your community (or “a” community), Resources (people, places, networks, etc.). I find this exercise is helpful in brainstorming possible arts ventures, especially those who haven’t really thought about entrepreneurship before.


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