In business, there’s a temptation to grow beyond your niche. Most businesses start out highly focused, and at some point, they want more. They figure the easiest way to get more profit and exposure is to start offering more products and services. This doesn’t always work well. In fact, it can limit your ability to generate profit efficiently.
There’s nothing wrong if this is the approach you want to take, and it’s not to say you won’t be successful. It’s just that you may not be as successful as possible. There’s a danger in being too many things to too many people: you’ll mean nothing to any of them.
Here’s why specialization can really help you.
Generalization vs. Specialization
Again, it’s worth noting that there’s nothing wrong with generalizing. It’s just usually not the road that would generate the most profits. Usually, when you’re good at a whole lot of things, you need a whole lot more business to make it work. Different customers from different niches demanding different services puts a lot of pressure on you, especially if you are a startup.
When you specialize in something, it gives you a real advantage both in marketing and generating profit.
A Generalization Example
Take a local business owner who offers services in furnace repair, lawnmower repair, small engine repair, framing, plumbing and laying flooring.
In an average week he’ll do a little bit of everything.
- Having more services means there are more things people can call you for.
- Doing many different things well means you can handle almost every task with some proficiency.
- Some tools that you use for one trade can often be used in another trade.
- You’ll be good at many things, but never truly great at any one of them.
- People looking for any of the services you offer are likely to hire people who are the foremost experts in that field before you.
- Your prices will be lower in order to compete with the specialists.
- You have to have many tools to do all the jobs you do.
- None of the tools will be highly advanced and expensive since you only do a few jobs a week with them and it’s not cost effective.
- Advertising is a nightmare. How can you get across everything you do in a limited space?
A Specialization Example
Take a local business owner who only handles furnaces. He’ll repair, install, and service them – but that’s all he does.
In an average week, he’s busy with furnaces.
- People call him first. He’s the expert.
- Much like a brain surgeon, he specializes in this one thing, so he knows more about it than anyone else. That level of expertise is expensive. He makes more per service call than the other guy.
- He has very expensive and highly specialized equipment because he only needs to have the equipment required to do this one job.
- When people think furnace, they think of this guy. He’s the furnace king in his town.
- Advertising is highly focused, targeted to the right demo, and only has one message.
- He can’t do everything. He’ll never make money at lawnmower repair.
- If furnaces become obsolete, so will his business.
Why You Should Specialize
As you can see in the example above, when you specialize, it really allows you to become the expert in something. I know it seems more intuitive to be able to attract as many people as possible, but people gravitate towards those who know what they’re talking about.
When you’re looking for answers to a specific question, the best results in Google are the ones from a niche website. If you’re looking for parenting advice, you will not go to a general forum about everything; you will go to a parenting forum or a website. Those people are most likely to know what they are talking about.
The same is true with your career. People seek out the advice of experts first. It’s why so many companies have blogs now. It’s part of a content strategy for producing amazing content that positions them as the experts in their field.
Here’s how specializing will benefit you:
- Focus. You only need to focus on dominating one area. It’s much easier to focus on targeting a parenting website than targeting everyone. You can put all your energy into one thing and be amazing at it.
- Money. You can get paid more by being the expert in one area. Customers tend to pay a jack-of-all-trades an average rate for an average job, but they are ready to pay a higher sum of money for the expert in the field, because they trust him to get the job done without failure. Specialists in all fields make more money.
- Efficiency. If you’re constantly doing the same type of thing, you’ll invest in the specialized training and tools that will help you be most efficient at it. You’ll also be able to solve problems quicker than generalists as you see them more often.
- Demand. Most people want the best mechanic, best website builder, best adwords guy, the best writer. If you can get the results they’re looking for the first time, people will pay more for that. Your services will always be in demand.
Specialization doesn’t limit your business, it helps it become more efficient and gain more profit. Where the generalist will show up in the middle to bottom of all packs, you’ll show up near the top of yours. People will come to you first.
Growth will happen from reputation, advertising and the service you deliver. All of this is much easier when you specialize instead of generalize.