Episode 69: Should you Specialize? Will it Help your Business Grow?

The question of whether to specialize or generalize in your field can be daunting. It is a decision that can largely impact your business. We will outline the pros and cons of specializing and generalizing so that you can decide what is best for your business and which one will help you grow.

Roger: Welcome to Local SEO Today, I’m Roger Murphy.

John: And I’m John Vuong.

Roger: Today John, we’re gonna talk to business owners…with regards to their business, whatever their market, their niche is, and coming at their business from the standpoint of being a generalist…or a specialist, and what the pros, and cons, and maybe what just the lifestyle is with both of them. We could talk about all the different service industries of being a generalist versus a specialist.

John: Yeah. So I think what we can- I think there’s two main verticals here: the health profession and the home…contractor profession, right?

Roger: Okay.

John: So, first let’s talk about health.

Roger: Alright.

John: When you’re looking at a physician, there’s a lot of family doctors out there, they’re very general.

Roger: Yes.

John: They’re considered generalists, right? You go there for any medical problem — you have a flu yet you have pain somewhere in your head, or your teeth, or your body, you go to see them but they would refer you out to a specialist for brain, for shoulder, for whatever it may be.

Roger: Unique situations that they can’t figure yet.

John: Yes and…usually these specialists has gone through all these training, all the years of additional training, been doing a lot of seminars, courses, and they’re considered experts in that field.

Roger: Sure.

John: So when you are considering a specialist, you actually can…ask for more in terms of compensation, right? Because you can narrow down and figure things quicker…as well, right?

Roger: Yes.

John: So as a physician, you typically…you know, for sleep apnea or internal bed…whatever may be, you’re a specialist for that, and typically you’re a lot busier as well because people in the industry…there’s not as many specialists as generalists, and you tend to…can charge more.

Roger: Sure.

John: Right? So you know, my focus would be always specialize and be the expert versus be a generalist.

Roger: Yeah, and this isn’t really talking just to medical or professionals, take that idea of specialist now to…anything in the home improvement world, whether you’re a plumber, a painter…a…you know, landscaper, whatever it is, a pizza maker. If you think of your businesses in terms of trying to be a generalist and cover…you know, bring every job in, if you specialize all the certain good things that happen when you specialize. It is true that…you know, you might not get to pick and choose as many jobs but the jobs you do get as a specialist, for example, let’s say home improvement gentlemen, John, guy who does roof, does shingles. He could do windows, he could do soffit fascia, he could do doors, and siding but what are the probe? What are the cons…of trying to spread yourself around too much?

John: Well time, right? So if you’re an expert at home improvements like roof, you know exactly the process, the people in place, the cost.

Roger: Yes.

John: And the timing of it, and you can schedule things accordingly.

Roger: Yes.

John: But if you’re a generalist, you may need to hire sub-trades or…people that are usually not the ones that you…typically hire, right?

Roger: Yes.

John: And you don’t know how long they’ll take, if there’s problems with it so you know, when you start outsourcing, some of the people…and the processes that’s when things start…you know, be cutter.

Roger: Sure.

John: You know, not so physically, right?

Roger: So if you think that you’re a business person, time is money so if you’re spending more time in a job because there’s you know…hiccups with delivery of certain materials or someone couldn’t finish that part of the project versus this…you can see how things slow down, and it can affect…you know, at the end of the day, your bottom line. But being a specialist, meaning you’ve just do roofs, or let’s say you do…you know, you’re the best in windows, sure you can do the sidings also but guess what? If you’re- if you know what you’re going in, you can…as you say, you can set your production once the materials are there, the trucks arrive, you’ve got everything you required, you can get in, get out, and because you’re a specialist, you actually do a better job.

John: Exactly.

Roger: On each job.

John: And you know exactly…when someone sends you the work, you can diagnose it really quickly.

Roger: Yeah…sure.

John: And come up with a solution, or service, or product to resolve that.

Roger: Exactly.

John: Right away…so you’re much more prompt…you know, you can charge a little bit more but you’re….much more efficient as well, right? And when you’re an expert, you have to remember to turn down jobs and work that…is not your expertise.

Roger: Yes.

John: So…that’s where…you know, as a business owner, it might be great to take on these additional revenue, and potential…jobs but really be known as…what you want to be known at.

Roger: Sure, ‘cause you cover more ground, more efficiently you make more money. I had clients over the years in the directory search world…they were in the paving industry, they did not do interlock, they did not do concrete patios or walkways, and you’d think, “why wouldn’t you do that? You’re already there at the property.” But the truth is…if you’re a specialist on interlocking, you approach your job way differently than a job for paving. Paving means they come in and excavate, they tamp down all the materials coming at once, they’ve got the large machinery, it’s…that’s how you…be more efficient, make more money, and you’re in and out, and they’re cleaner jobs.

John: And people spend years, and years, and years in that field so…you’ve probably seen all the different scenarios as an expert, and a specialist.

Roger: Sure.

John: Right? Versus a generalist where they may came…see it once in every couple of years, right? So how do you know if they will do it correctly?

Roger: That’s it.

John: And they’re bringing in sub-trades or…you know, someone that isn’t as good as an expert.

Roger: Exactly.

John: Right? So focus on being the expert as a business owner because that’s where you can…carve your niche, make a mark in your local space, and be known so that…you can then man a little bit more, and you can streamline your processes, and get higher people that are really good within that realm of space, right?

Roger: Exactly. You’ll end up with happier customers, they’re prepared to pay you more because of your expertise you have. So John, this is a great topic you have today, I hope there’s a few…tips and tricks that we’ve given you today to look at it as a business owner…and we’ll see you again.

John: Thank you.

Roger: Here at Local SEO Search.

John and Roger: Thank you.