When you set up your business, did you take on whatever work came your way? Did you do any work that people were happy to pay you to do? Did you (like me) end up doing some strange projects, for strange businesses, that you never expected to find yourself doing?
This is something I see a lot with small businesses. Especially in the early days, you need to earn enough just to get by, so you take whatever work comes along. It might not be the sort of work you originally planned to do; it may not be for the type of businesses you really want to work with. But you can?t afford to be fussy, can you?
Or can you? I was talking to one of my clients about this. He provides IT support to a huge range of businesses and recently lost one of his larger clients to a competitor. It struck me that due to the size of his client, they moved to a different supplier who could more easily look after their growing needs. I asked him if he?d thought about specialising in supporting small businesses, up to a limited size. His reply was that he felt he needed to take on whatever work came along, even though it left him vulnerable to losing larger clients as they outgrow him. My suggestion to this client and any business or consultant in a similar position, is that they focus on a particular type or size of client and specialise in providing the support they need. As a one man band, my client is ideally placed to work with other sole traders or very small businesses, because he understands the issues they face. He knows what they?re going through and what IT challenges they may struggle with.
When you can specialise in working with a particular niche, you?ll become known for working with those people. You can build up a reputation for what you do and your ?ideal? clients will seek you out. Soon you?ll be able to turn away the work you don?t want to do, for the businesses you don?t want to work for. How much better will that be for you?