The narrower, the potentially bigger…

In a succinct piece, the guy who helped build Google’s current Blogger program (which I’m using here) and which Google bought from his previous company, offers up
“Ten Rules for Web Startups.”

While many of you don’t consider yourself a “web” start up, you ARE a business start up, regardless of where you do your business, including one-on-one, on the phone, etc.

The FIRST Rule:

#1. Be narrow
Focus on the smallest possible problem you could solve that would potentially be useful. Most companies start out trying to do too many things, which makes life difficult and turns you into a me-too. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: with much less work, you can be the best at what you so. Small things, like a microscopic world, almost always turn out to be bigger than you think when you zoom in. You can much more easily position and market yourself when more focused…This is all so logical and, yet, there’s a resistance to focusing. I think it comes from a fear of being trivial. Just remember, if you get to be #1 in your category, but your category is too small, then you can broaden you scope – and you can do it with leverage.” – Evan Williams, founder Odeo

How does this apply to you?

Say your company has a broad product line, it means FOCUS on ONE FIX you got, that you love madly.

E.g. “I market a product for someone who has achy knees going up and down the stairs, and they don’t want to do surgery or drugs, like the way I used to be. Do you know anyone who might like to know about a product like that?”

That’s right from the book, “If My Product’s So Great, How Come I Can’t Sell It?” If you were to focus on this ONE niche – someone who has achy knees going up and down the stairs, and they don’t want to do surgery or drugs, like the way I used to be, you could become the king or queen of that niche. YOU could be like the cardiologist – who does only heart work, versus a general practitioner.

Who makes more money – the specialist or the GP? And who would you rather pay the extra money to, if you or a loved one had a heart problem? The specialist or the GP?

Isn’t this the same?

And it’s like that in regular business, also.

Everyone tries to go after “everyone” and it has never worked. Focus is hard. You are excluding people. Just like the cardiologist excludes everyone who doesn’t have a heart problem to fix.

If people out there come to see you as the “achy knee lady (or guy) for people who don’t want surgery or drugs,” you could be queen or king of the niche. And yes, you’d exclude people who have some other problem to fix or other job they need done, that your product helped YOU with.

But at least you get the ones who are like you, where before, you didn’t get those either. Just like a cardiologist, who doesn’t even look for anyone outside his specialty, to help.


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Kim Klaver

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