Can you answer this question in one simple sentence?
It's a very difficult question. I'm not asking what you do for a living, I'm asking you what you specialize in?
If a customer finds you on google and clicks on your website for the first time what do they see in the first few seconds? What do they feel? Do they just see a company that does roofing or do they see a company that specializes in roof repair?
The world is full of plumbers, electricians, and HVAC's. The funny thing is we all do something differnet. I don't install water treatment, I let a competitor occupy that space in the market. Yes, I'm a plumber but how can I build a profitable reputation if I do everything? The answer is you really can't. Sure, you can do it but it will make your company weak.
At one point in my life the phone would ring and the first words out of the callers mouth would be the following...
- Do you repair water heaters?
- My husband and I put a new floor in, can you fix a toilet flange?
- I have iron in my water, do you do that sort of thing?
- My sewer is plugged, do you clean sewers?
- I have an old shower valve, do you stock 80 year old parts?
If customers are asking you these types of questions something is wrong.
You see, if you can't focus on what you specialize in you will have a hard time making maximized profit margins. You will have a hard time writing an advertisement for a local paper. If you have a website you need to direct traffic right? You need to focus on what you specialize in, if not how whould you lay out your website? What would you blog about?
I know a remodeling company who gets in an awful lot of trouble becuase they doesn't specialize. People call them and becuase they feel they have to do everything they take every job. It creates chaos. That same company is forced to bid against companies that DO specialize and that means they have to charge less to compete.
If I were to summarize what my company specializes in this would be the sentance that would describe it.
I am a one man plumbing shop that specializes in residential plumbing repair on older homes delivering expert same day service.
What does this mean? Well, it means my mission is pretty clear. Knowing this I can easily develop a marketing plan. I can write an advertisement for a newspaper or Yellow Pages in about 2 minutes. I also know what I WILL NOT
put in the advertisement. It means I will blog about plumbng repair and not about how to get soft water.
The description is the first step in developing a wesite. It tells you what your barriers are.It defines the market for me. It makes it perfectly clear what I need to stock on my service truck.
At one point in my life if you asked me to define my business in one sentence I would have said : I do plumbing.
Guess what? It created a serious problem for my business, it wasted my time, cost me money, and confused my customer base. It doesn't matter what you specialize in, if you specialize you become efficient in the marketplace. In short you, become the EXPERT.
Once your the expert the phone calls change. Instead of having 10 calls a day and closing 4, you can have 6 calls a day and close all 6.
Defining what your comapny is in the market place is something that most companies fail to do. It doesn't have to mean you pick one thing and forget the rest however. You can define your business in other areas like customer service. Below is an example of a company that defined itself well in an area that has nothing to do with it's ability to physically solve financial problems.
Charles Schwab offers investment services as well as online trading. For a number of years they lost focus, they lost touch of what they specialized in. In the last couple of years they have refocus.....they decided to specialize. What Schwab realized is that every other company could do what they do. They realized they were offering a commodity. Schwab made a marketing decision to specialize in "customer service". They came to the conclusion that it was an aera that they could excell at. It was an area the competition wasn't doing a good job at.
So they made the decision to occupy that space. Charles Schwab acomplished the task, the customer service they offer is unparalleled in the industry. It's so good in fact, I look forward to calling them for various questions. It's become a game to find an unhappy person who answers the phone. It doesn't happen. This is the power of focus.
The market place is crowded. To do well in business and maximize it's potential you need to specialize in something that's important to people. You need to do it well, you need to occupy this space in the market so nobody has a chance to claim it.
I was once told that it will be impossible for me to compete against a competitor that's been in business for over 80 years. I'm writing this post becuase I am taking work away from them every day and it's not just any work, it's the type of work I want.......the profitable kind. You can do this also. I defined my business around a set of barriers that I don't cross. Once I defined my company by deciding what I'm specializing in word began to spread. The more I focused the less calls I got. But the calls I get are easier to close. As time goes by the people calling me for plumbing outside my specialty are shrinking. This is called reputation. My truck is stocked based on my reputation.
This is also known to some as a business model. The focused effort to define yourself is where the profit it. It's also where the fun is.
So can you answer the question? Can you clearly define your business in one simple sentence? Does that sentence register well in the marketplace?
Here is a test. If you can define your business in one simple sentence then take that sentence and put it right in the header of your website. If it really is good, if it really does deifne your business model then that's easily the most valuable sentence on your website. It needs to be the first thing customers see.