It’s a haunting picture — the worst possible version of the cobbler’s kids.
I saw this the other day as I’m personally struggling with focus in our business. I think every agency (and certainly a lot of other businesses) grapples with this issue, to specialize or not.
As the saying goes, niches equal riches. There is a lot of pragmatism to it. The more you know about a specific industry or vertical, the more of an expert you are. The more of an expert you are, the more you can potentially charge for your products and services. But is there a cost to niching? Could it cost you your business?
Let’s talk about the ups and downs of this.
Here is the upside of specialization:
- Institutional knowledge
- Processes and strategies in place
- Quick to work
- Streamline everything
- You can make more money with less effort
The downside of specialization:
- That’s a lot of eggs in one basket
- No industry is perfect
- No industry is recession- or pandemic-proof
- Cynicism sets in
- You stop thinking about solutions
- Your brain gets lazy
- Your product gets watered down
What if every project is new? What if you treated everything like it was never done before?
The upside of broad specialization:
- Mentally challenging
- Creatively Challenging
And the downside of broad specialization:
- More Expensive
- Innovation burnout
For our digital marketing agency in Birmingham, AL, we believe there is a middle ground. A place where we can still do incredible work, keep our soul, and hang on to the beliefs that pushed us to start our own agency.
Atomic lives for finding cures, not just addressing symptoms. The key for us is finding a solution and creating a process around it that can help more than one client.
Why should you care about any of this? I think it’s important for every business to iterate, innovate, diversify, and evolve. One of my favorite movie quotes of all time applies really well here. “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’” I think your business has to do the same thing. Can you help everyone? No. If you try you will likely end up like Duke Cabinet & Construction, Etc… And, if your business dies, you can’t help anyone.
So, don’t be like the cobbler. Don’t focus so hard on a client or singular aspect of your business to where you lose focus elsewhere. But, on the other hand, don’t be like Duke. Don’t try to focus on every single service or part of your business and never really become an expert. Find that happy middle ground.