Should You Specialize or Sell to Everyone

Several months ago, a new business owner on Marketing Profs Exchange (posted 5/23/08 by Raqueld) asked whether she should specialize or not. She wanted to start an event planning business to plan family events (parties, anniversaries, etc.). So far so good. Then she also wanted to use the same company name to host networking and singles events. She said that’s what she really wanted to focus on, but felt she needed to cast as wide a net as possible. She asked, “should I focus on one particular area & will I regret making my focus too broad or too narrow?”

Why You Should Specialize

Yes!!! (I said, jumping up and down). Focus on ONE thing. A company looking for an event planner will be turned off (or at least, very confused) if they come to your site and see singles events. She had five different, and unrelated markets, meaning she’d need five sets of brochures, mailing lists, keywords, and five sections on her web site (more to maintain), etc. It would be very messy, and very expensive.

Stick Out and Be Remembered

Focusing on one thing will make you stick out in people’s minds, make you more credible, and make you more money (Would you rather be a purple cow or a brown one?).

Turn a Struggling Company Into a Profitable One

A small moving company in the northeast US was fighting to compete against the big guys. They had less money for advertising, fewer trucks, and a tiny profit margin. So, they switched to shipping emergency medical supplies overnight. Now, they can charge more money, focus on pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, and stand out instead of being overwhelmed by larger rivals. They’re now thriving.

A French woman came to the US and had to learn a whole new system, try to get credit with no record here, and fill out unfamiliar paperwork. She then wanted to help other new small business owners do the same thing. At first, she offered her services for $99 (and struggled to find customers).

Then, she decided to focus on other French (and French-speaking) people who wanted to come to the US and start businesses. She helps them with the paperwork, gets them lawyers, accountants, tells them about the US system, etc. She now charges $1,000 for the same service.

Focus Equals Money

Figure out who your ideal customer is, and concentrate on what will appeal to them, where to find them, and the best ways to reach them. Selling to everybody means selling to nobody.