You’re a multipotentialite. You’ve done tons of things in your long career, you’re great at pretty much ALL of them, and your audience needs every single one.
But you’ve heard me preach about the power of focus, and the importance of identifying a small number (like three or four) problems that you want to solve, and crafting all of your marketing and sales efforts around those problems.
And it’s just not adding up for you.
“But wait!”, you cry in anguish. “How can I choose just a few problems to focus on? Can’t I just help with all of them?”
Not if you want your business to grow.
Do Less to Do More
This sounds counterintuitive to many small business owners, but to grow your business, you need to do less. And you won’t get there if your approach is, “I do tons of stuff, just let me know what you need and I’m probably going to be able to help you.”
Like it or not, you need to FOCUS. Here’s why choosing a few key problems to focus your marketing is so critical:
1: Prospects need to believe you’re focused on their needs.
You’ll be far more appealing to a prospect if they see you focused on the problem THEY are having.
If they get the impression that the product or service you’re offering them isn’t your primary focus, you’ve introduced doubt as to whether they’ll receive your undivided attention and expertise.
2: Prospects need to believe you’re an expert.
While you may argue that your expertise is widespread — and it well may be — it’s hard for people to truly believe that you can be great at everything.
And if you’re asking someone to pay a substantial amount for what you sell, you can be sure they’re going to be weighing whether you’re the right provider based on how good you are — how expert — at delivering a solution for THEIR problem.
3: Referrers need to know who to send to you.
Word of mouth is a huge new business driver for most small businesses. But referrers need the right tools to be able to identify the prospects you really want, and to offer those prospects a referral they’ll find compelling enough to pursue.
Telling your referrers that you can do “anything to help people run their business” doesn’t give your referrers anything concrete to listen for when they come across a potential customer for you, and doesn’t provide much guidance with regard to what they should tell that prospect about you.
This is especially true when your referrers don’t know a lot about your target market or your industry — putting the burden on them to match your capabilities with somebody’s problem in order to try and send you a likely prospect.
4: You need to MARKET.
Sooner or later, you need to TELL PROSPECTS ABOUT YOUR SOLUTION.
That means you need to identify a problem, share how you help them solve it, and explain why you’re the right choice for them.
Trying to do this for 15 problems is simply unrealistic.
How is your website going to be organized? What are you going to address in your blog posts, or your videos, or your social media feeds?
This is where so many business owners either get frustrated and give up, or present a scattershot and disorganized mishmash of messages and content to the world.
And prospects have difficulty finding content that’s relevant to them — because you’re making them wade through a bunch of stuff that isn’t.
To market effectively, you’re going to have to prioritize.
- Prioritize where you spend your time and your money, so you don’t waste resources that could be helping to grow your business;
- Prioritize developing the content that is going to be most helpful, and ensuring they can find it quickly and easily,
- Prioritize the messaging that will be most compelling to your ideal prospects, and ensuring those messages are showing up in the right places.
The Good News
So for those of you freaking out right now, certain that you can’t whittle down the types of work you do and convinced that I’m completely invalidating your broad and extensive expertise…
Take a breath. It’s okay. Here are two more reasons to focus:
4: Nothing’s permanent.
Identifying they primary problems you want to solve with your business, and determining who are your best audiences for the work you want to do, are iterative processes.
You’re going to adjust them as you continue to develop an understanding of the work you most want to do, and the people for whom you do (and don’t) want to do it.
Picking a focus now doesn’t mean that focus doesn’t adjust — or change completely — down the line. This is YOUR business, and you control its future.
5: What you SELL doesn’t affect what you’re able to DO.
Just because you don’t SELL a particular type of work doesn’t mean you can’t DO a particular type of work.
I’m not asking you to abandon your talents, or suggesting that you surrender all hope of doing something you love to do.
But your website isn’t a resume. Its job isn’t to encapsulate all you are, or report on all you’ve done. Its job is to SELL.
And you need to use it to sell what you’re selling.
To speak with clarity and focus about what you want to do, about the problems you want to solve, and about the people who struggle with those problems and need your help.
If someone contacts you about work, and you have a skill they could benefit from that isn’t on your website, no one is stopping you from offering it up if it would help solve their problem. Sell away!
Just don’t put it on your website.