By Catherine Lang-Cline
“Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.” – Don Draper
There is nothing more tempting than trying to provide your customer or client with everything that they ask for. After all, you want to make sure that they are happy, right? Happy customers pay their bills and return as clients. But what is the cost to you?
I will fully admit that at the start of our creative staffing firm, my business partner and I went down some “rabbit holes” to try and satisfy the client. We did our very best to make everyone happy. But what ended up happening is that we were getting distracted in areas that were not our specialty. We were being pulled into things we were not good at. And we would struggle and waste time and get frustrated. Even though we agreed early on what we wanted to specialize in, we were still drifting on occasion.
Success came when we finally stuck with what we knew and what we were great at. We defined our niche and set firm boundaries around it to say, “This is what we do, this is how we can help.” I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to find what you are special at and focus on providing that, despite what others might ask you for. It is so important to know and own your niche. Marketers call this your “Unique Service Proposition.” It just means the thing that makes you different from everybody else.
Thousands of new businesses are created every single day. If you have an accounting firm, what makes you special? What is going to make a customer chose you over another firm? Are you cheaper, faster, more accurate, friendlier or have fewer audits than anyone else? If you say personalized service, you really need to think about what “personalized service” means to your customers. What specifically makes it personalized in a way they value?
Maybe you are a bakery and over-the-top wedding cakes are your specialty. Or custom birthday cakes that photograph well for social media. Maybe your customers don’t care what the cake tastes like but they really care about the stunning pictures of it they’re going to post on Instagram. Knowing that would totally change the way you talk about and market your business.
What is the one thing that not only people seek you out for but are willing to pay more for because you are the best at what you do?
In our case, we work with creative people in advertising and marketing. And that’s it. We don’t deviate; we don’t try to recruit everyone for everything. We are good at this and we own it. Stop trying to please everyone and just focus and own your niche. Your passion and uniqueness will make you stand out and you’ll be amazed at how much easier things become.