In 1992, I started as a freelance marketing consultant for doctors and other professionals. My first company, The Success Doctor, Inc., was launched in 1995 as my goal was to help doctors become successful.
It was and still is something I love, something I'm passionate about, and a vertical I'm very familiar and comfortable with.
In the last few years, I've taken on many clients in different industries, including retail stores, non-profits, car dealerships, etc. There are many reasons for this: some personal, some professional.
Even after doing this for 30 years, it's never too late to niche down. Or in my case, re-niche down, if you will. So I did that by going back and re-focusing my consultancy on professionals only.
“Time to Marie Kondo your business.”
That statement is profound in more ways than one. So I've decided to go back to doctors and professionals (e.g., chiros, lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc). Specifically, entrepreneurial professionals.
Why the distinction? Because a lot of professionals are quite content taking home a small income, staying where they are, and just wanting a low but steady flow of leads to keep them occupied.
But I prefer clients who want to grow and expand, who are willing to invest in their growth, and who are open to new marketing strategies and ideas.
In fact, in my services and on this website, I've made it clear “who” I want as a client… and who I don't want. Positioning and niching down is not just about focusing on who you want but also who you want to avoid.
Once you do that, you free yourself up for more productive work. More fun work, too. You also eliminate much of the heartache that comes with trying to be everything to everyone.
Who do you not want as a client? Write it down. Make it clear.
It's a pretty revealing exercise.
Niching down can be based on who you serve, which is a vertical specialization. But you can also niche down based on what you do, or horizontal specialization.
You're a software developer specializing in non-profit companies, that's a vertical specialization. Or you're an orthodontist, a dentist who treats irregularities in the teeth and jaws. That's horizontal.
Or you can be both, such as an auto mechanic who specializes in imported car brakes (you only do brake jobs and target owners of imported cars).
I'm a drummer. Due to COVID, I can't jam with my fellow bandmates, and it kind of sucks. So I decided to record myself doing these “quarantine covers,” which I posted online, of me playing drums over some classic rock songs.
Last week, I struggled because I was trying to align my drum track with one song: Semi-Charmed Kind of Life by Third Eye Blind. For some reason, the tempo was off and the backing track was weird.
After frustratingly tinkering with Adobe Premiere Pro for a few hours, I had a thought: “What if there was a drumless track of the song?”
Sometimes you just need to take stuff out to align with your clients.
Too often, we try to deliver a panoply of services with a website that reads like a menu from a Chinese food restaurant. I was guilty of that, too.
You can sell everything to some or some things to everyone. But you can't sell everything to everyone. You're not Walmart or Amazon. As a professional, trying to sell everything or to everyone only dilutes your expertise.
If you do, people won't feel you have any value to offer greater than everyone else, and the only metric of comparison becomes the price. The only way to compete is by being cheap.
It's a race to the bottom.
By taking something out from your business, whether it's who you serve or what you sell, you can make your business better align with your ideal clients, and who you are will better resonate with them.