I was speaking with a colleague a few days back and we were talking about this other company that has had a really successful niche. He mentioned to me that said company is beginning to diversify and I immediately cringed. I am sure you are asking yourself why. Well, let me share a few things with you.
Diversification attempts usually (not always) happen as a result of one of two possibilities.
1. The company has found great success and is expanding the number of offerings to it’s clients.
2. The company has not found success and is trying something new to reach clients.
So what’s wrong with either of those options? Let’s analyze them.
Option one presents plenty of pitfalls if not very carefully calculated. Do they have the same expertise in the new offerings or are they relying on past success to carry their unpreparedness? Are these new offerings going to take away from their ability to provide the best client experience in the offering(s) that got them to that level of success in the first place? Do they really need that next level of success of should they reside in what is current and doing very well? There are many more but these are some of my thoughts regarding the company that is currently successful. And in relation to the company above, this is them and that would be my fear. They are much more successful than I so I assume they have it figured out, but I am not sure.
“Oh ya, I can help you with that TOO.”
Option two is much more prevalent in today’s business climate. A company, or person, is not finding a whole lot of success in their niche so they start grabbing for whatever is within reach. You know you’ve heard it from people around you. Something to the effect of “Oh ya, I can help you with that TOO.” You see, it’s not just about you doing work that you shouldn’t be doing (yes, I said shouldn’t), but also that you are muddying the waters for people that actually offer that product and/or service.
Ok, so it’s not all bad. There are many, many businesses that have been successful in diversification. And there are plenty of new businesses trying to find their way so as they do, their “niche” will switch. But if this is resonating with you as something you do, it’s time to reevaluate who you are, what you do, and what is best moving forward.
My advice would be as follows:
Think hard about what you love most in business.
Think hard about where your giftings are and how they benefit potential clients.
Think hard about whether you are scrambling to diversify out of benefit to others or lack of strategy/effort/success in your own business.
Above all, stick to what you do best and leave the rest to the experts!