Don’t be afraid to narrow your niche

I saw the van below in a parking lot and it struck me as a shockingly narrow and unusual niche. This stands in stark contrast to many businesses who want to be all things to all people. They sport slogans like, “For all your… needs.”

Common sense and human psychology dictate that you cannot be good at many things and most people or companies can only be great at one thing. Saying “all things” implicitly states you are great at nothing.

By overly, repeat…overly, narrowing your niche, you offer the customer the opportunity to perceive you as an expert at that. This is not an easy task in an economic environment where nearly every category is overcrowded.

So here’s today’s challenge: how can you tighten your offering to instantly communicate you are an expert because no one else claims to be an expert?

Here are some examples:

  • General web developer continued to develop websites but focused on the niche area of usability
  • Paving contractor focused on more profitable specialty of bridges
  • Alarm company stopped chasing low-margin new construction market and focused on historic renovations
  • General bakery focused on the white-hot area of cupcakes
  • Landscape contractor focused on yard curbing
  • IT body shop focused solely on Ruby on Rails developers and doubled sales

There are many more examples of how companies grew sales by contracting their focus. Here’s the secret: customers will still buy offerings outside your focus area. The landscape contractor still sold mulch. The bakery re-expanded offerings to include cookies. The alarm company still cherry-picked new construction work.

Are you willing to take the plunge and narrow your offering? What success stories can you tell?