To ensure success, go DEEPER not wider

Okay, so you are a startup owner.

Chances are great that you have limited resources. Understanding that you cannot be everything to everyone, you identify a niche and concentrate on that.

I am now getting more and more convinced that the niches we think are specific enough are STILL oftentimes too broad. We have to go deeper.

When STORM was originally conceptualized, we wanted to be a technology firm which specialized in HR. Soon enough we found out that was too broad. So we thought of specializing on benefits. You know what? Still too broad. This year, our big decision is just to concentrate on ONE thing: Flexible Benefits. See all those other products in our website? We shall soon be pulling all them out. We realized we needed to focus ALL our resources on ONE problem: getting Flexible Benefits right. We want to solve this problem with all we’ve got. We want to solve this problem better than anyone else in the world.

This boils down to the decision if you want to do one GREAT thing or merely good things. Spreading your limited resources across many things increases the probability of making a lot of mediocre products. Just remember that mediocre doesn’t have a shelf life, being great does. Look at Apple. ONE phone at a time. ONE tablet at a time. They just make that ONE thing the best there is.

Got an idea? Know who your target market is? Here’s a suggestion: segregate this market further and choose to niche even more. (Of course, you have to walk the tightrope here a bit and ensure you have a big enough market)

Creating a tablet application for children? Pick a specific age group, say 5-6 years old. Then do heavy research on the developmental aspects and mental acuity levels of children 5-6 years old. Then release a product specifically for children 5-6 years old. If you are a parent, and you have a 6-year-old, wouldn’t you want to buy a product specifically created for your child instead of getting a “for 8 years and below?”

Designing a clothing line for mommies? It might not be specific enough. Then research on the style differences between women who are 20-25 and everyone else. Focus your marketing and sales activities just on this demographic. Ignore the rest. You know what, not only will you capture the 20-25 market, but also the women in their 30’s who want to look younger.

And for all those people creating software houses? For goodness sake, pick a niche. Learn that niche. Yes, you will get offers to develop other stuff outside your chosen niche. Resist the money and decline. You can make that money up once you begin dominating a more specific niche. And no, “mobile” isn’t a good enough niche. Go deeper – pick an industry, a vertical, or an even more specific platform. Think about your specific customer and then sell specifically.

Go deeper.

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