Harold needs double bypass heart surgery. He goes down to the heart surgery bazaar and sees the following people pitching their services in their respective tents:
- Some Guy Greg
- Family Doctor Doug
- Surgeon Samantha
- Heart Surgeon Stewart
- I Only Do Double Bypass Surgery Sandra
Harold walks by Some Guy Greg. "I see you need some surgery! I'll operate on you in my dusty musty garage and it'll be really cheap. It'll only cost $10/hr. I haven't really done surgery before but I once dissected a frog in 9th grade biology. I'm also a fast learner." Wow, what a great deal! Maybe Harold should try saving some cash money by going with him. That's pretty cost effective.
Harold comes to Family Doctor Doug. "Hello! I went to medical school and have a certified degree in the medical arts. I once dissected a real human, so I know where all the parts are." This person seems less likely to cause death and at least may know how the body works at a high level, but I'm not sure how sure I am that he can put the human body back together again after dissecting it.
Harold approaches Surgeon Samantha. "Hey I'm a surgeon. I see you need some surgery. I've done a lot of surgeries of all kinds - knee replacements, appendix removals, lung transplants, nose jobs, toenail fixings, and more! You name it, I've probably done something similar." Hey, this one is actually a surgeon. I have confidence that she at least knows how to go in and get out without causing damage and has actual successful surgeries under her belt. Not a bad choice.
Harold continues down Medical Plaza and comes to Heart Surgeon Steward. "Greetings! I am a heart surgeon. I do all the surgeries related to the heart, the whole heart, and nothing but the heart. If you have a heart problem, I'm your guy. Ventricle Flap Fixes, Pacemaker Insertion, Upside-down Heart Syndrome Correction, and also Double Bypass Surgery!" Hey, that's the first time someone has actually mentioned the thing Harold actually needs. And he's actually completed successful heart surgeries. Quite promising.
Harold finally comes to I Only Do Double Bypass Surgery Sandra. Above the tent is a giant sign that reads: "I only do double bypass surgery!" Harold enters the tent.
"I take it you have come because you need a double bypass surgery," a confident voice speaks. Harold looks to see a kindly woman sitting at a desk surrounded by a "1st Place in Double Bypass Surgery, Medical Olympics 2014" trophy, an oversized diploma from The Double Bypass Surgery School of Chicago, and technical diagrams of hearts and also bypasses. "I've done 24 Double Bypass Surgeries this year and counting. I can fix you right up."
My guess is that Harold would go with either Heart Surgeon Steward or I Only Do Double Bypass Sandra. Why? Because their services are targeted to exactly what Harold needs. By restricting their offering to a narrower range of services, they become relevant to a smaller group of potential customers, but those customers will be much more attracted to their offering.
This principle can be applied to any number of businesses.
What is more attractive to someone who needs updates and maintenance for their aging Django website - a "web developer," a "Django web developer," or Ben Lopatin of Welfire - "The Django experts for your existing Django site." As he says on his website wellfire.co, "Unlike most development or design shops we specialize in improving existing Django sites." And then he has a large body of articles that discuss in detail how he goes about taking out of date Django sites and making them less out of date.
I'm a freelancer and I feel frustrated that I can't seem to find enough clients to keep my pipeline full. I search for "how to get more clients." I find an article on Kai Davis's website about how to get more clients. I see on his website these words: "You want to get more clients for your business. I can help. I help freelancers and consultants uncover hidden profits in their business and get more clients without spending more on marketing." Hello Kai, you are speaking directly to me. I see that Kai offers a number of services. Kai has made a new fan and customer.
If you are looking to level up your businessing, whether independent or as an employee, having a level of specialization can actually increase your attractiveness to clients and employers.
This specialization is an aspect of "positioning" - the art of framing your specific offering to a specific target market. If you want to learn more about positioning, Philip Morgan has an excellent free email course at positioningcrashcourse.com, and Kai Davis and Nick Disabato have a great Make Money Online podcast episode about it.