Avoid This Common Business Trap

Animal trap on Hilbre Island, Wirral, England.

Watch out for the trap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you fallen into this common business trap?

Many smaller businesses try to be all things to all people.

Sometimes, the problem is being too vague:

“We’re a full service marketing agency that leverages your company resources to maximize profits”

Other times, it’s being too broad:

“We do logo design, landing pages, WordPress themes, and SEO”

Specializing in everything is specializing in nothing

That hypothetical logo design, landing page, theme company may do some of those things well, but likely not all of them.

Cell phones have evolved from simple portable phones to game devices, still cameras, libraries, video cameras, messaging devices, and a host of other things.

They’re no longer very good for making phone calls.  The voice quality is often poor, and they’re hard to hold comfortably up to your ear for a long period of time.

On the other hand, take MailChimp.  They specialize in email marketing.  That’s what they do.  Not iphone games, not branding, not even email copywriting.  They make email marketing software.  Period.

Why one thing works

People know where to “file” you.  If you’re a grant proposal writer, then if a friend or client comes across a charity seeking grants, they know to refer you.

The benefit to you (and your clients) is that you get to know your business, your clients, and their problems, really well.

If your business is backup, do backup, not installing servers, not database management, not warm cookies.  Don’t try to cast  your net too widely, learn marketing from fishermen.

Negatives are good

Our hypothetical referrer in the previous paragraph also knows not to refer you if they meet someone who needs a technical writer.  It’s a completely different skillset.

I was asked the other day if I did branding.  Could I?  Probably.  Do I?  No.  It’s not my specialty. No branding, no general advertising, and no press releases.

Instead, my clients hire me for copywriting and response-driven marketing.

You can charge more

Remember BUMI from last week’s post?  They focused on one thing, and could charge higher fees, because it was now a premium service aimed at larger companies with specialized security and backup needs. A higher perceived value meant higher prices.

This is the fourth post in a series about competing against outsourcing.  The other posts are:


One thought on “Avoid This Common Business Trap

  1. I agree with all of you. Yet people are trying to pull me in another direction that I really don’t want to do. I’m happier this way … if not always flushed with business.

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