July 23rd, 2008 20:00 EST
Guru Marketing at its Best
I`m a proponent of being very specific about finding a niche in your business. Every successful businessperson has to find a niche and they have to get great at it. Then, they have to exploit it in every way that they can. The businesses that are the least successful are the ones that are sloppy about finding their niche.
It`s impossible to be everything to everybody. But many professional people are afraid of taking a niche because they believe that they`ll leave crumbs on the table. They worry that deals will not come to them because they want to be able to pinch a few dollars from every opportunity.
The truth is that precisely the opposite is true. When people know you for one thing and they`re able to put you in a box in their mind`s eye, they may not think of you every day, but when an opportunity crosses their plate to make a referral to you, you`ll be the one they call. You will be the one who stands out for solving the particular problem that someone has.
The other benefit of being in a great niche is that you tend to be worth more than a generalist is worth. Somebody who is specialized and is able to solve a specific kind of problem is always harder to find, and therefore, this person is more highly compensated than a generalist. But, what if you`re having a hard time picking your niche? Or what if you think you can`t make money in the niche that you`ve picked?
Then you just have to be more creative. Consider Roger Owens.
I have a friend who has worked at Dodger Stadium for almost all of the 40 years that the stadium has been around. Roger works just one section over from where my seats are. He`s the man in Section 101 who sells peanuts to the fans who sit in his section. Many years ago Roger started having fun selling the peanuts to his fans. He thought that instead of just passing them down the row and collecting the money that he`d help to deliver somewhat of a show to the people who come to the stadium.
Roger started throwing the peanuts - first overhand, then backhand, then under his leg, and then around his back. His precision and accuracy was so terrific that he never misses a throw; and fans soon started buying tickets in his section, more to see Roger the Peanut Man than to see the game that was being played on the field. Roger became a legend.
Incredibly, Roger is known the world over as the Peanut Man at Dodger Stadium. Roger recently wrote a book, an autobiography about his life, growing up very poor to now being successful as the Peanut Man at Dodger Stadium. Roger has been on television. Roger has been on the field. Roger is well-known by everybody who goes to the stadium. I`ve had the honor of becoming friends with Roger, partly because of my contact with him at the stadium, and partly because we`ve actually hired Roger to come to parties that we`ve held and have asked him to pass out peanuts in his unique and fun way to the guests at our parties.
If Roger could become famous as a peanut man throwing bags of peanuts to fans at Dodger Stadium, and if he could stand out among all the peanut-throwers in the country, of which there must be thousands, then can`t you stand out in your business? If you think that it`s hard for you, think about how hard it would be for somebody like Roger.
Think about what it is that you have to do in order to be successful in your niche. The most important thing is that you have to be great at whatever it is that you`re doing.
So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you`re building your career, think about Roger. Think about what you have to do to be great in your niche so that people the world over know who you are and call on you for the kinds of problems that they have when they have them.
About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc.
Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker and advisor. To bring Joel into your company, please visit www.joelblock.com or www.growth-logic.com. Also, be sure to check out our newest project: a blog to organize the blogs that cover entrepreneurship - http://www.entrepreneur-hub.com. And finally, for film makers: http://www.filmfundingblog.com - our newest project.