When I first started my own business, my first inclination was to go after every industry you could possibly think of. Why? Because I had done it for 17 years when I was with a large firm. My initial thought was to not limit myself. Why should I when I can serve the world? I also didn’t want to be typecast into the role of some kind of female empowerment woo-meister. That is not what I am about. I am a serious business person that is all about results! I wanted to play with the big boys!
But then I remembered the many examples of businesses I have worked with who focused on niches and how incredibly FAST they grew those niches compared to the rest of their business lines. When you are “THE GO-TO GUY” in a niche, you get noticed, you establish yourself as an authority and you grow. It’s really that simple. For example, I worked with a professional services firm that focused solely on restaurants. They served restaurants (no pun intended) better than firms that were much larger than they were and quickly became THE firm for the restaurant industry. Their laser-like focus in this industry allowed them to gain a level of expertise that the larger firms just didn’t have. This meant they didn’t need a huge brand name, large team or a big budget for marketing and advertising in order to successfully grow. I’ve seen success stories like this play out repeatedly and always with the same result – focus on the niche and experience accelerated growth.
So why do people hesitate to create niches? I think it is based on fear of missing out. People do not want to miss potential opportunities that lie outside of a defined niche. They are worried about being too narrowly defined or, as the old saying goes, of “putting all of their eggs into one basket.” Industry today is often pushed to diversify, diversify, diversify. It gets to the absolute heart of who they are, what their business represents for them and their vision, and how they want to realize that vision. I understand, and I feel that push as well. I know that I am perfectly capable of serving a variety of industries and creating great value for them. I know that my male clients get the same great results that my female clients do.
But I also know that I cannot boil the ocean. Nor do I want to. I want to be the absolute best in the areas I have chosen to focus on. I don’t want to be a jack of all trades, because then I will become the master of none. For my clients to feel they have hired the best, I’ve got to BE the best in their industry. I will never be a firm of 190,000 employees with fleets of people to cover every industry, nor do I want to be. I know the power of focus. It is the crux of my entire practice: focus and reap the benefits. Focus and grow faster. People who go through my strategic development projects grow their companies at two and a half times the percentages of growth that they otherwise would have realized if they did not engage in strategic execution. One major strategy I help my clients deploy is to narrow the market and then dominate it. It’s like the old saying, “be a big fish in a small pond.” Strategic thinking about how to master a niche is a key tenet of sustainable momentum and accelerated growth. Be the firm that dominates, not dabbles, in a particular market. The strength of your company will reflect your focus.
Let me give you another example of the power of a niche: when big companies go after smaller ones, it’s often because the smaller ones are BEATING them in a particular area. They have a niche product, they cover a niche market, they deploy a niche process. You get the picture. Do you think a niche company is more marketable and goes for a better price than a general focus company? ABSOLUTELY. Niche companies are valued more. They are considered uniquely equipped to bring specific value to the markets they serve.
This key tenet for growth is one that I have found to be the most powerful. I know smaller companies will hesitate. But I encourage you reflect on what I am saying and rethink spreading yourself too thin. Remember, you can always add new niches later. Niches allow for quick growth, mastery of execution, and lightning fast differentiation. That is exactly what most companies are looking for, whether they are start-ups or giant conglomerates. Find your niche and watch your company grow!