Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why Not Specialize?

It never ceases to amaze me how people in this day and age still don't get it when it comes to branding and image; especially in this country. In Japan, image is critical to success. And the way to create an image is by focusing on one thing; what is it that you or your company do that you are the best at?

The keyword is focus.


Look around you. What companies are doing well? The ones with a strong brand and image; Coca-Cola (can you picture the red & white logo in your head?); Apple Computers (you can visualize an iPod or iPhone in your head); McDonald's (Golden Arches)... 


So why isn't your company doing the same? Why aren't you doing the same?


There's an ancient Zen saying that goes, "The hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither one." 


Don't get stuck in the idea that, since sales are down, the company and product must try to broaden appeal. That's a recipe for death.


And I will prove it to you.


Imagine that you live in a small town. In this small town there are 5 restaurants. They are all "family restaurants" (you know, like Denny's)... In fact, one restaurant is a Denny's... There's also a Bob's Big Boy, a Chili's, and a Jonathan's.... Anyway, like all family restaurants, you can go to any of these establishments and get just about anything that you want... They have everything.... But just like any Jack-of-all-trades, they can do anything, but they are experts at nothing... While the food is potable... It is still merely "okay." It is far from delicious....


Then, one day, in this town, five small specialty restaurants open up. One is an Italian restaurant; one is sushi; one is Chinese food; one is Mexican food; and the last one is a steak house.


Now, where do you go for lunch? The family restaurant that has everything - excepting nothing is especially delicious; or the specialty restaurant that has a limited menu but everything is fantastic?


It's an obvious choice.


Here's another example: Think about professional baseball players. They have "utility men" who can play several positions. Quick! Name one famous utility man? Can't? Neither can I. That's because they don't specialize and, as such, they are usually gone within a few years...


But on the other hand, you get a guy who can only pitch to, say, three batters, yet can strike them all out and has an ERA of something like 0.80 and you have a guy who makes millions of dollars a year and is a super-star.


Why? He specializes. That's all he can do is one thing.


But he is the best at it.


You and your business should become specialists too.


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Keywords: 

2 comments:

Mark Davis said...

That is so true. My career appraising commercial real estate followed the same path. The learning curve for gathering data, making contacts and understanding the nuances of how to value the many different types of properties is pretty steep. It was certainly useful working on a wide range of property types (industrial, office, retail, agricultural, residential, institutional and all the sub-categories within each) while first learning the business, but it was hard to make much money until I began to specialize in apartments. After becoming an "expert" in this one area, potential clients now seek me out for my services and I get top fees for it.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Kikkoman used to have a swimming club and they still have a hospital. But outside this small town where they started, they are known for Soy Sauce. :P