A High ROI Activity for Your Business

You can’t place a triangle or oval block inside. You can only place a rectangle block inside.

Face it; it’s too difficult to communicate value propositions effectively if the service or product is positioned for everyone and anyone.

You can’t speak to the soul of the person or business who’s looking to solve a problem if you are not looking them in the eye, metaphorically speaking, while telling them how your service or product can help.

Therefore, it’s more unlikely they’ll take you up on your offer, especially if others are doing a better job positioning themselves to help in a better and more specific way.

An effective example I’ve seen Chris Do from The Futur use when talking about this topic is:

Would you rather have foot surgery done by an orthopedic surgeon or cardiologist?

Worst yet, would you rather have it done by someone who is not a surgeon at all?

Positioning does go further than specialization. There’s pricing, marketing, etc., to think about too. However, I’ll be focusing here on specialization & niching down.

What’s the Point?

I think most people at this point know that niching down and specializing is the way to go, especially when starting out. Influencers and other Twitter folks suggest doing this all the time.

However, it’s not commonly done because it is scary.

Am I pigeonholing myself? Am I leaving opportunities on the table if I specialize? Am I turning people away when their attention would be super valuable? Will I get bored?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get rid of this fear. It’s one of those things that you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s something you are willing to experiment with and take a leap of faith.

It’s funny because specialization brings about success in someone or someone’s business repeatedly on the internet. And yet, it’s so unintuitive that even with all of the proof we see on the internet, fear sets in and prevents us from taking action.

(This is an assumption. It’s what I’ve experienced, and I’m assuming others experience the same).

Benefits of Specialization

Specialization essentially opens you up to opportunities that are so similar to each other that you won’t help but notice patterns in the problems you are solving.

By recognizing these patterns, you will inevitably develop expertise. And expertise is awarded a price premium and low competition in the market.

With expertise, you will be difficult to replace. Therefore, the leverage is yours in the dynamic between client/vendor, whereby you are the vendor, and the client is coming to you for a solution to a specific problem.

With this leverage, you get a seat at the table. You are not just a vendor but an advisor. At any point, you can withhold your expertise from the client, and they will be forced to try and find a replacement (with very little luck).

Expertise & specialization can also be leveraged into productized services. Productized services allow you to scale using a set process or template for each client.

For the process or template you develop to work across many vendors, you would have to be solving very similar problems & scenarios.

The Risk for NOT Specializing?

Could you still get paying clients if you don’t have a niche and specialize enough to develop expertise?

For sure!

Brett from DesignJoy built a successful one-person business providing design work (i.e., websites, logos, and presentation design). He built over $1M in ARR with no employees or contractors. He didn’t have a “client persona” or a niche design offer.

So yes, it’s possible.

But, in my opinion, this is playing the game in Hard Mode. It’s more difficult to increase prices, it can make you easily replaceable, and you are merely seen as a provider, not an adviser or subject matter expert.

As you can see, I’m in Camp Specialization. And it all started with Chris Do’s suggestion. He suggests starting out in a specialty. Once you have built rapport and recognition, you can branch out and become broader in your products & services.

Will you face fear & uncertainty to do the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Comment your thoughts below, and I’ll respond within 48 hours.

Most of the information in this post was generated from the book: “The Business of Expertise” by David C. Baker. I highly recommend you check it out by clicking here (this is an affiliate link).

Image from heliosdesign.com


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