How to specialise and grow your business

‘Mate! You are just a big fish in a little pond!’

It’s often something said as a derogatory comment to people who think they are better than they are when there is no competition.

In business it’s different. A big fish in a little pond is exactly what you want to be.

That is why specialisation is critical to success.

You can either not specialise in anything, specialise broad or specialise narrow.

Below I have included some examples of the difference between no specialisation, broad specialisation and narrow specialisation.

Marketing firm

No specialisation: Strategic marketing services 
Broad specialisation: Strategic marketing services for startups with a projected revenue of $5mil and up.
Narrow specialisation: Strategic marketing services for construction industry startups with a projected revenue of $5mil and up.

Home building company

No specialisation: Home building services
Broad specialisation: Prestigious home building services of homes 1.5mil and up.
Narrow specialisation: Prestige beachfront home building services of homes 1.5mil and up

Ecommerce clothing and apparel store

No specialisation: Quality clothing and apparel
Broad specialisation: Quality recycled clothing and apparel
Narrow Specialisation: Quality recycled surf and skate clothing and apparel 

Recruitment company

No specialisation: Quality recruitment services
Broad specialisation: Quality executive recruitment services
Narrow Specialisation: Quality executive recruitment services for the legal industry

Gate company

No specialisation: Gates for residential properties
Broad Specialisation: Automatic sliding gates for residential properties
Narrow specialisation: Custom made to order automatic sliding gates for prestige residential beach front properties

With no specialisation, it doesn’t matter how big a fish you are, you are swimming through an ocean. As you narrow down with each level, the pond gets smaller and you become more focused. The industry knowledge requirement is more refined. The skill requirement is more refined. These assets are rarer and more desirable. They are worth more.

You can start broad and refine down to a certain specialisation once you have built up your experience and built an understanding of your offering – where your skills are best suited and what you are the best at. You can also start narrow and expand outwards, one step away from your speciality at a time, to grow your business offering. It is dependent on the industry that you work in and the products or services that you provide.

The quickest way to specialise, if you don’t know where to start or if your expertise is fairly agile, is to make sure you are only targeting people that can afford you. It’s easier to sell to people who have money. The price you charge is dependent on the pay off for the client. Make the investment in your product or service a no-brainer. If you are trying to sell a $9,000 marketing strategy to a hobby online business selling ship models, it just isn’t going to work. They are going to need to sell a lot of $150 models to pay back the investment. Additionally they probably don’t have the production or distribution capacity to do it. If you are selling a $9,000 marketing strategy to a construction company that can make $500,000 from one new client, the money is cheaper to that client. The potential for success is higher. It’s not costing them anything to except patience in waiting for the logical payoff.

One of the best ways to specialise is to determine the industry you are passionate about and the people you most love working with. This will make your business more fun. You’ll be more motivated and your passion for what you do will be infectious. It will make you successful and re-known in your field.

So make the pond bigger. Make your specialisation narrower and deeper. And next time someone calls you a big fish in a little pond, wave and smile, while you are laughing all the way to the bank!

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