It’s safe to say that almost every small business has been through the process of defining exactly what service or product it provides. In fact, most market savvy businesses will go through this process multiple times, to stay afloat and keep up with the pace of change. Questions asked are likely to include whether a business should…
- Focus on a core service or product?
- Broaden the offering and capture a bigger share of the market?
- Specialise in one industry or have a general understanding of many?
- Offer a one off service or something that needs an ongoing contract?
The answers to which are all critical for any business to know.
One thing we have learnt in almost 20 years of trading is that small companies must excel at something!
In our case, we are a digital agency. More specifically, we’ve refined that down to providing ‘eLearning and digital comms’ for the heavy industries and transportation sectors. Even more specifically, our specialist topic areas are non-technical skills, railway communications and site induction via our online platform SiteSentinel.
We’ve also learnt that it’s important to say what you don’t do! This builds credibility and helps clients frame your offering. In our case, we don’t do Public Relations; we don’t do Marketing Communications; and we certainly don’t do print campaigns…
…except for the fact that we’ve just done a print job! Our offering – digital comms and learning – is pretty well defined, so why have we dipped our toe in the print pond? The answer is simple: it made sense for the client.
The rail client wanted a set of cards designed and printed that workers could use to learn about non-technical skills. The project was required within an existing programme of work that we were involved in and we were well placed to deliver it. We used our knowledge of non-technical skills in the rail industry and combined that with our experience of creating and delivering eLearning programmes, to design the set of educational cards.
And now comes the critical part… we then brought in a partner company and leaned on their specialism – printing! In this case the excellent print management company Birch Print – who printed a beautiful set of client-ready cards.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Defining what you do, and don’t do, is key to attracting customers and making sales. However, sometimes a job might come along that you are well suited to – just with a little expert help. So it would seem that specialising, whilst remaining open to possible new opportunities through collaborating with trusted business partners, provides the best of both worlds.