I can't even tell you the
number of times I've talked with skilled professionals who can't figure out why
their career has stalled. "I don't understand," they say. "I'm working so hard!"
the answer is that they're working too hard. It's a common problem for
generalists: those professionals who offer a wide range of services in an effort
to meet every conceivable need the buying public might have.
generalist is very demanding. You need to be prepared for whatever problems your
customers bring through the door, whether it's an everyday problem or a
once-in-a-lifetime scenario. This requires a huge skill set, not to mention a
nearly overwhelming need to keep up to date with all the developments in every
corner of your field. I get exhausted just thinking about it, actually.
look at an example.
Rina is a financial
advisor. She's a smart cookie, bright and hardworking. She takes a great deal of
pride in providing her clients with the ultimate in customer service. Today, on
her agenda, there are three appointments.
first appointment is a couple with two small children. They've started saving
for their children's college education, but aren't sure they're getting the
maximum return on their investment. They want Rina to help them build the fund
second appointment is a local businessman. He wants to sell two of his smaller
businesses and use the proceeds to buy a third, larger outfit. That is, of
course, if Rina thinks it's a good idea — and if the tax bite on the proceeds
of the sale won't be too painful.
third appointment is with an older woman, well past retirement age. She has a
mentally disabled son, and it's very important to her that she leaves a lasting
legacy that will provide him with a lifetime of income.
It's clear that each of
these clients comes to Rina seeking something different. They each require
unique assistance. They all expect Rina to provide thorough, complete, and
correct information that pertains to their individual situation.
It would seem impossible — yet many advisors attempt to handle such a disparate
caseload, in an attempt to be all things to all people. This trend is not unique
to financial advisors. It's endemic among service professionals, who seem to
think that some business is better than none at all.
Let's go back to Rina for
a minute. What does she have to do to prepare for her day? She'll have to make
sure she's up to date on college planning and the latest in financial aid
packages. At the same time, it'd be a good idea to read over the most current
tax law regarding the disposal of small businesses. Meanwhile, she doesn't even
know where to start when it comes to fund administration for the care of a
disabled adult– some research is definitely in order. It's going to be a long
day for Rina.
Let's imagine something
else for Rina. Let's pretend she's decided to become a Nichepreneur,
specializing in estate planning.
Right off the bat, Rina's
life gets easier. Her clients know what her specialty is, and they come to her
with questions that pertain to that specialty. They don't ask her how to set up
a college fund or how to finance their next business acquisition. Rina's
schedule opens up — she doesn't need to study these topics. Instead, she can
concentrate on the estate planning area, going more in-depth and gaining a
deeper understanding of the topic than she ever had as a generalist.
This makes Rina more
efficient. When someone comes to her with an estate planning question, she
doesn’t have to ‘reacquaint’ herself with the field, nor do some hurried
research to bring herself up to speed on the latest trends in estate planning.
She’s ready. This means she’ll be able to provide her clients with better, more
accurate service, and far faster than her generalist peers.
same time, because Rina is a Nichepreneur, she can demand higher prices for her
services. Customers know specialists cost more, and expect to pay more for
Rina's skills than they would for a generalist's. This results in greater
profitability for Rina.
has become easier. Rina's work day is now more efficient and focused, and she's
making more money than ever before. Being a Nichepreneur combines the best of
both worlds: greater profitability and easier, enjoyable work. Who could ask for
About the Author
Written by Susan A.
Friedmann,CSP, TheNichePreneur Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally
recognized expert working with service professionals to increase their niche
marketing potential. Author: "Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small
Market" (May 2007) and "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies."