There are two ways to do business.
Both can work, but only one can get you explosive growth.
This just came up yesterday by way of Brandy, an ExtraBold reader. She’s at a bit of a crossroads, and here’s what she said:
“I’m thinking of specializing in boudoir. I love it…I’m passionate about it, but scared to death that I’ll #1 fail, #2 miss other sessions…. advice?”
So, two things…
First, we have inner voices for a reason. If you love something, it’s your body sending a signal to your brain, saying, “Hey, let’s do this.” Don’t worry about the fear stuff. Fear is just what happens when you break through the wall of the unknown.
But how boring would life be if you never left your comfort zone? Here’s my two cent analysis:
No Fear = No Growth
No Growth = Bad
No Fear = Bad
Fear = Good
Now, second, from a nuts and bolts business perspective…
Just ask yourself: Do you pay more to see a generalist or a specialist? And, for that matter, who do you think has more value?
In reality, being a specialist doesn’t mean that you’re better. There are plenty of crappy specialists. It really just means you focus on one thing.
But if you’re getting brain surgery, you want a brain surgeon.
Not a surgeon.
Definitely not a generalist.
It’s just how people are. It raises your perceived value.
In fact, one of the easiest ways to build value instantly is just to pick a specialty.
If I say I offer yoga classes for 50 year-old executives, it builds instant credibility. You just assume there must be some reason I do something better for you if you’re a 50 year-old executives.
Yes, it does feel like you’re giving up a huge part of the market when you specialize.
But the truth is, the odds are more likely you’ll fail going for everyone than going for a small slice of the market. Getting focused means you’ll build more value. It means you’ll beat out all the other generalists. And it will make your marketing more focused and attractive, so people seek you.
With that said…one thing to mention. It is true that in smaller markets, there’s no need to specialize.
But it’s not because niching down doesn’t work.
It’s because if there’s no competition, that means you already are niched down.
For example, if you’re the only photographer in town, just being a photographer at all is a specialty. If you’re the only life coach, then being a life coach is a specialty. But most markets are too saturated for that. But most markets are seriously saturated, meaning that it’s rare that you don’t want to get narrow.
So my rule?
Specialize as much as your market allows, then stop.
And the test is simple. Just ask yourself whether there’s too much competition. If you feel like there are too many other people fighting for the same people, then go narrower.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Once you get to a point where the competition isn’t overwhelming, you’re set.