Watching a recent ad by Porsche, I couldn’t help but think that the car company that once carried the cache of exclusivity is in danger of losing its way, speeding off into the pedestrian.
The ad’s tagline, “Engineered for Magic. Everyday” portrays Porsche as a snowmobile with a mother and her toddler driving in the snow; a pickup truck that can stow bags of soil; a getaway car for an executive after work; and even a yellow school bus driven by a mother picking up her son at school.
Too many people try to be everything to everybody, and it just doesn’t work. We recommend that you identify areas of specialization—niches—to work in. Working in a niche offers plenty of advantages:
Limit Your Work
By limiting your work to one niche, you’ll discover that you have less direct competition than you would if you tried to do it all. Just look in the Yellow Pages and count all of the generalists you could be competing against. However, if you specialize in historic homes, you’d find there are dramatically fewer companies sharing your specialty. You may come into contact with new and inexperienced contractors on one or two jobs within your niche, but they frequently limp away whimpering because they don’t have the knowledge or skills to do the job right.
Since you’ll be concentrating your generalized skills on a specific area of remodeling, you’ll quickly become a technique and product knowledge expert in your field. People will pay more for that expertise.
Your crews will learn the best ways to handle the details of one kind of work, making them faster and more efficient. This means you can do the work more quickly and earn more profits on each job. Once you’ve begun to be known in your niche, you’ll gain referrals from within that specialized community.
A niche serves a confined market so it’s not necessary—or desirable—to market to a broad audience. This means you’re able to spend your resources more effectively by targeting just those people who need the services you offer. A company niche can be defined by:
– Type of service you offer.
For example, this might be design/build or insurance restoration.
– Type of property you like to work on.
Do you enjoy historic renovation or prefer retrofitting retail space?
– Type of work that your company does.
Some remodeling companies specialize in creating additions on two-story colonial buildings while others only handle interior work, such as kitchens and baths.
– Geographic area.
Some remodelers have customers all over a metropolitan area; some only accept work in specific districts.
You could specialize in one type of window or siding, or perhaps join a franchise that represents one type of product.
– Size of your jobs.
Do you like to do small jobs that can be completed in a week or less, or would you rather do larger, more complex projects?
– Clientele you prefer to work for.
Do you like to do work for wealthy clients? It’s not for everyone. Some remodelers prefer working for middle-class, senior, or disabled people.
Locating your business in a rural, less densely populated area may force you to stay more generalized because the market can’t support a specialist. However, urban areas usually provide enough prospects to successfully support a specialized niche.
Many successful remodelers are characterized by the fact that they have positioned their companies to serve a specialized niche. All of their marketing—image, public relations, advertising, and networking—is targeted to serve that niche. The way you position your company is crucial and far from arbitrary. There are thousands of different platforms your business can stand on for increased value. When you find a niche, stop and think about how to go after more of that specific work. Who buys that work and how can you reach them? Are there publications or conferences that serve this specific market?
Targeting a well-defined niche means you can compete on the basis of value, not price. To make the most of your potential, you must have a clear idea of what your company’s niche is and then market that specialty. What’s your company’s niche?