Guest Blogpost by Laura Wallace, Owner and Creative Director, Worx Graphic Design, based in Hagerstown MD. Laura is a branding expert, author and speaker.
Chances are when you started your design firm, advertising agency or digital team you had a core services offering. These were services that you are really good at and had the team to support them. As a company grows, so does the needs of your clients. One client will ask for something you’ve never done, and many of us have the “say yes and figure it out later” mentality. This comes in handy because it exposes you to things you would never have done otherwise. It gives you experience and the know-how for new types of projects.
Before you know it, however, you end up with a laundry list of services that you may or may not love. Your team gets stretched thin because they’re doing a lot of different things and not always to the best of their ability. Not because they’re not good at it, but there are only so many work hours in the day. It’s hard to be amazing at a lot of different things, and that’s ok.
While specializing in a niche market is recommended, it’s not for everyone. However, specializing in specific services can often be the gateway to a growing company. For instance, if your team is great at branding, marketing and strategy, do just that. If your team is amazing at building great user experiences on the web, then do just that. Give people a clear reason why they should come to you. Where we all get into muddy waters is when we start trying to be everything to everyone.
Becoming well known for your specific specialty will enhance your customer’s experience, help your team feel confident, and you’ll produce a better product. Here are a few signs you’re offering too much:
Your Team Sighs. When you introduce a project that includes services that you don’t specialize in, it affects the company morale. Everything could be perfect: the client, the style or the deliverables. But if those services that no one feels confident executing falls in with the rest, you’ll see a decrease in your team’s excitement.
It’s Painful. Forcing yourself to do something that you don’t overly understand but have to do is painful. If you have to psych yourself up to do it, it probably needs to go.
You Do It To Get It Done. If you’re performing certain tasks with a “get it done” mindset, there’s something worth evaluating. The same type of task should not cause you grief every time.
It Doesn’t Come Naturally. Performing a task on a regular basis that doesn’t come naturally can be challenging. You can either delegate those tasks to a better suited team member, or consider removing it if it doesn’t align with the company’s goals as a whole.
There is a fear around cutting services; thinking that if you remove something, your clients will leave. You may find that a few move on to someone who can continue to perform those tasks for them, but you’ll also open up a whole new opportunity for you and your team to do more rock star projects. You’ll find that your team will be more motivated, projects will become more exciting and your clients will be happier.
You can transition your clients out of the service that you’re discontinuing. Providing a recommended list of partners to work with, giving them a timeframe of when things are happening and sharing your other core services with them will leave your client feeling educated and prepared. And in most cases, you’ll find that your client appreciates your honesty.
Get back to what you’re amazing at. Your team and your clients will all benefit equally.