December 6, 2012
If you've ever seen me after a vodka cranberry or two, you know the one thing I get heated up about the most is BUSINESS.
I start saying snippy things like, “What moron wrote that on the sign?” or “Estelle Getty could have designed a better website,” or, “Who the hell wakes up and thinks, ‘Oh, I know! I'm going to open a new restaurant and serve pizza AND sushi.'”
The pizza and sushi thing really bothers me. Ditto the preposterous folks that throw Italian and Thai together into one restaurant. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?
It's like nails on a chalkboard. Which is why, when I found out that one of the local restaurants around here–who has since gone out of business–was serving every kind of cuisine you'd ever want under one roof, I flipped my lid. NO WONDER THEY WENT OUT OF BUSINESS.
“Why this isn't obvious to everyone?!” I barked to my poor, poor non-native English speaking friend who was inevitably stuck listening to my rant. “Everyone is so worried that offering less will mean less customers–when, in reality, it's the opposite.” Snarl. Growl. Squeal.
He nodded, politely, though I'm positive he was mentally searching for the duck tape in the trunk of the car, wondering how hard it would be to hold me down and paste it across my mouth. (For the record, it would be very hard.)
And so, I continued on:
“Seriously. No one ever said…'Let's go to the restaurant with the most selection tonight!' No! They say: ‘Let's go somewhere we can get a really good steak.'”
And it was then that that I thought of you.
I thought of you because I talk to small business owners a fuck ton. And time and time again, the big fear is that if they niche themselves too much–if they narrow their focus tooooooo much–then they'll only get maybe one fourth of a real client the entire year, they'll start to lose their hair, their dog will get cancer, and then everything after that will go straight downhill…and all because they “didn't diversify.”
I know many people are starting to identify themselves as “multi-potentialites,” but just because you like a lot of things, and you're good at a lot of things, DOES NOT MEAN IT MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE TO COMBINE THEM ALL INTO ONE.
Yes there is cake. And yes, in many cases you can have it and eat it, too. But not all the time. And not with this.
Do you know what happens when people try to put too many concepts into one business?
Everyone's confused, no one knows what the hell they actually do. Kind of like why Madonna doesn't sing pop, country, rap, salsa, meringue and some opera for good measure–even if she could.
Whereas, on the other hand, if they'd pick one specific thing to build their business around, it becomes infinitely easier to BECOME KNOWN FOR IT, BE REFERRED FOR IT, INSTANTLY RESONATE, AND MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF. Then you can think about expanding.
If I were to open a new restaurant–here in Costa Rica or elsewhere–you bet your ass I wouldn't be opening a “grill,” or a “cafe” or any other generic thing.
I'd be opening the place for all things Franks Red Hot–and only things Franks Red Hot.
I'd be opening the fresh shrimp place–and only shrimp, prepared in 25 different ways.
The Delmonico steak place–and only Delmonico steaks.
It is much easier to become known for one thing, than it is to try and become known for many–especially in a saturated market.
Worry about expanding later, and gaining traction now.
I know you're thinking that I must have been drinking vodka when I wrote this, too. But you're wrong. Because tonight I'm being streamed in live to give a little virtual talk to the Ignite Steamboat Springs folks on making shit happen–the actual theme of their conference tonight–so vodka would probably make me look bad. Or make me blow kisses to the audience. Or cause me to cry.
And since there's no crying in baseball, then there shouldn't be crying in marketing, either.
In fact, I should trademark that.
That way, the next time someone tells me they want to become the next web designer who also does life coaching AND boob jobs on the side, I will smack them with a porcupine, hold up a sign that says, “THERE'S NO CRYING IN MARKETING,” link them to this post and hope I don't go straight to hell.
I think that would be professional.