I’ve been trying to make an argument this week that it’s easier to grow your firm by narrowing your focus than by taking on a broad range of work from the clients that come your way.
I wanted to end the week by talking about an example, a client who actually did this!
I started working with a web design company that was doing well, but the owner wanted to see more growth. There was a lot of variability in the clients and projects coming in, so she needed to have a wide range of talent to deliver on all those various projects.
When we kicked off the engagement, she crystallized the problem, “I want to grow my business, but I don’t want to grow the number of employees. I want to make more money with the same number of people!”
To do that, we looked at who her biggest clients were, the companies that loved what she did and paid her the most money. It turned out they were all in life sciences! Not only that, they all hired her firm because they had a similar challenge!
When we focused on just that problem and that client and started to ask the question, “How do I get more clients like that?” It clarified her focus.
This was such a narrow niche that they didn’t have an industry association – so she started one!
Most of her clients and prospects didn’t know anyone else who had the same job or the same challenges. Meeting peers was of great value to them, so they flocked to the events she created.
When someone in the industry was looking for a new job, they called her! When they were stuck and needed help, they called her! She couldn’t always help, but the more folks she met in the industry, the better she got finding connections for them.
Over about 10 years, she had doubled her staff but was doing 5X the revenue! When a giant in the industry came and offered to buy her firm AND give her a plum job, she sold to them for 1.8X sales!
It wasn’t always smooth sailing
There was a transition period where things were really messy when she was still serving many legacy clients while trying to maintain her focus.
She also had a lot of staff turnover as she reconfigured her business to serve this new niche.
But those 2 years of turmoil paid off with a ton of growth!
Could you see yourself making a transition like that? Hit reply, and let’s talk about how we could make that happen.