Monday, July 2, 2007

Discovering Your Niche

I had planned on taking a break from blogging this week, however I stumbled upon this post that I found interesting and supported my claim that consultants should resist the temptation to be all things to all people and focus in on one or two areas that they feel most comfortable and more capable to serve in.

Starting out in consulting I know how difficult it can be. There's a lot of pressure to start making money right away, but if you take every little job that comes along outside of your area of expertise or target market you'll end up wasting time and energy on things that will do little to establish you as an independent consultant.

Be firm - identify who you wish to serve and what kind of service you intend to provide them. In the end you'll be happier and you'll know you are doing the work you meant to be doing all along when it is enjoyable and comes easy to you.


Corey Smith said...

I think that the idea of being everything everyone is a pervasive problem in any business... not just consulting.

You might be interested in my comments from last week on this very topic in my post titled Be everything to everyone...

Richard I. Garber said...

In order to make this work you need to demonstrate expertise in that niche. You can do this by writing a “white paper” posted on your own web site. You also could give talks, or create a blog, etc.

I once co-authored a technical paper on a very narrow topic - analysis of torsion counterbalance springs for sectional overhead doors (English translation: springs for garage doors or truck rear doors). Half a decade later a plaintiff attorney halfway across the country called me to consult on a case. His law firm found me because writing that paper had made me an obvious expert on the topic.

Justin Beller said...

Establishing yourself as an expert is important. However it is a struggle most entrepreneurs face because how do your really know you are an expert? I might know a lot about a particular subject, but I always seem to learn something new or find new ways to apply what I know in an innovative fashion.

I found this blog post addressing the "expert" dilemma -