If you recently started running your web agency it is very tempting to accept all incoming work that you find in your inbox. In fact, the majority of people who leave “safe jobs” and start their own shops say that they’re amazed at the amount work that is out there.
You’ve probably already noticed that you’ get all kinds of inquires, some prospective clients will want to have a five page website, someone else wants help with coming up with a strategy on how to give the best customer support on Twitter, someone wants help with getting photos up on Pinterest while another person wants help on ranking high on Google. I think you get the idea. The way to deal with this is to “niche down”. Let’s explore how to niche down:
Productizing consulting services
The most common way is focusing your services on a particular industry. You might have some experiences with working with clients from a particular industry like say real estate. Perhaps then it’s a good choice to cater only to real estate agents. This gives you a huge advantage when presenting your business because you can prepare all your sales and marketing material to be directed to one type of client. Better yet, if you have deep knowledge of the industry you can fulfil your services a lot easier.
The other way you can “niche down” is by service. You can focus your services to only build WordPress websites, or do SEO, or A/B testing. By doubling down on your offering offering only one type of service you can compete much better against bigger agencies and provide the best service possible. Focusing on one service doesn’t mean that you can’t offer complimentary services in the future you, either by yourself or by partnering up with another agency, referring business to each other.
Today, web design projects are getting commoditized and “niching down” on a industry or a service area is probably a good strategy. If you can productize your consulting services you probably should. (Productized consulting basically means selling standardised service packages that businesses subscribe to). The more you niche your services, the easier it will get to create systems and scale your business.
If you’re a small agency, being everything to everybody is a recipe for disaster, “web design” is a huge market with an insane amount of disciplines and only the big guys can offer full-service. Start with a small niche and build out your service from there, it’s a lot easier to maintain happy clients in one small niche than trying to please clients in multiple industries.
If ready to “niche down” you will also have to be prepared to say no to work because, if you spread yourself too thin, all your time and energy will spent learning and staying up-to-date in multiple disciplines.
In order to successfully grow a productized consultancy you essentially want to clone your ideal client. Turning away clients might feel like you’re walking away from money but what it in reality does is freeing yourself up to get new and better qualified leads which will help you grow your business faster.