It sure seems counter-intuitive. A bigger market may seem to have more customers, but it’s also easier to get lost in.
Just choosing a smaller domain, a vertical and defining it sets a small business apart from all of the other small businesses that are trying to serve every customer on the planet and not doing much to attract any.
Becoming an expert in a small domain makes it easier to say “We’re the ones for you.” The you might be daycare centers, boomers, auto buyers, foodies, books buyers, cool apps afficiandos or exotic pet trainers — any definable group that has a group identity, talks to each other, and wants what you offer. The payoff in a smaller segment is often faster, greater, and more meaningful, especially when you start with a segment you’ve worked in, are a part of, and know intimately.
After all any small business should know what expertise it offers and be able to judge how well it is doing. It needs to know when new information is worth investigating and be able to apply it as needed.
Even the biggest brands started in one vertical … with good sense.
- It’s easier for anyone to attain true expertise in a smaller domain or segment. Learning a single domain and it’s traditional technical basis will free you up to be creative. Learning an entire industry won’t offer the time to for mastery that breeds true innovation.
- The rules and procotols are more easily mastered. You get to know the conditions and the players and their positions more quickly. As, a result, you fit in more quickly and gain status faster.
- A smaller field of knowledge focuses your effort, concentrates your learning. Being brilliant at one thing is more valuable than being good at many — especially if many are good at the same things. People place more value folks who understand their issues intimately.
- It’s the best way to get your game on and get to know your customers. Mastering a smaller domain allows you to hone your skills more finely, understand nuance, recognize finer opportunities, and develop offerings that more clearly fit customer needs.
- Being an expert in a smaller space raises ROI. You apply the same knowledge to similar situations rather than change gears with each new client. You’re able to find ways to connect client work and research to lower your investment. Relationships go deeper and partnerships are more likely — you might share in development for different uses.
- A smaller pond enhances your visibility. It’s easier to see the stars in a smaller universe. You can build a network quickly and that network will stay with you and help you grow into new segments.
- As you gain visibility, you can extend your expertise and reach by moving into other niches and verticals strategically. With slow moves to related fields, your expertise grows exponentially. You can take on larger territory with out problems of scalability.
With those thoughts, it makes sense to start with a vertical you already know. If you were trained as a teacher or a lawyer, you might want to start near education or a law, where you already have depth and credibility. You can always overlay your marketing or social media passion on the vertical you know.
Remember when Amazon was only books?
What vertical suits the small business expert in you?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!