Niching it down in the age of “full-service” everything!

There are literally tens of thousands of agencies across the world (probably more) and almost four times the number of businesses waiting to be served by these agencies. But only a few elite agencies get to enjoy the lion’s share of the market. The others… they keep waiting for the next big opportunity and keep the bills get paid via nick-nacks that none of the bigger agencies would be willing to do.

I’m not quite sure if that’s the way to make a living. Particularly if you’re just starting out and find yourself in the sea of social media marketing agencies or full-service marketing agencies or digital marketing agencies or media-buying agencies… you get the idea. It’s overwhelming. And quite worrisome for the newbie entrepreneur who’s trying hard to survive.

Most new agencies are willing to deliver anything under the sun to get and retain their clients. Which is great, at least initially, but things change over time. The same clients becoming more demanding and expect you to be more accommodating and still complain about the quality of your deliverables, efficiency and most importantly cost. Even if you’re losing on at least a $1,000 (or more) every month for working these lunatics!

I don’t think that’s a great business strategy but it’s what you’ve got to live with until you find a better client. Preferably, clients.

How do you do that? Just do the opposite of what your competitors and every other agency out there is doing. Take a step back and reflect on your true strengths — it could be strategy or execution. Go even deeper, what strategy are you the strongest? Would that be a full-fledged digital marketing strategy or just Email marketing or content marketing strategy? How about execution? Would it be design, digital, content, video, podcasts or social media? Analyze what are you really good at?

If it’s a dozen things you’re good at, great! Pick three of the strongest from the lot. And from there pick the most obvious service that you can literally deliver with your eyes closed. That, my friend, is your flagship offering. The remaining two services can either be shelved for the time being or be deprioritized to ensure that your strongest offering shines through. I would ideally just focus on ONE thing and build my business around it.

If you’re saying, “Sunil, it’s easier said than done. You’ve got no clue how much money I’ll be leaving on the table…”

I get it. But here’s a better question, “how much money are you leaving on the table right now?” If you’re money right now, it’s obvious you’ll be losing some more when you restructure your organization and it’s direction but it will come back up. And when it does it’ll stay there before ascending to the top eventually.

The only way to ensure your small business success is by narrowing down your focus. Instead of everything under the sun, focus on just a few. One is a great start! Because it allows you to solely focus on that one thing until you make it a success, which gives you the opportunity to bring in another service and then another.

Let me give you an example: I used to be part of a Marketing and Staffing agency. We then shifted our focus by bringing in multiple models to operate the digital side of thing and the staffing side of things (sort of like a digital marketing agency). With operations in multiple geographies, things got a little challenging but we pulled it through anyway. It took another round of reorg and deep thinking to understand where we are and what we’re best positioned to do.

Speaking of narrowing it down, we also decided to recalibrate our India business’ focus from being a marketing and staffing agency to a marketing services agency to just a marketing support agency. Right now, I’m knee deep at work to ensure that this new focus is a success but got a great feeling about it. You know why? Less moving parts. We’re singularly focused on providing support services to marketing teams. Period.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

We grow from here and stay nimble until the time is right. Till then, we keep hustling. That’s how business is done!

Niche it down to breathe easy.