One of the big questions, when you’re going into business, is whether you should generalize or specialize. Whether you’re going into freelancing or you want to provide goods to other businesses, you need to decide whether you’re going to focus on one type of product or branch out. By generalizing you could leave yourself available to a wider client base, but a specialist can show that they’re an expert in their chosen field. Even people who don’t work for themselves have to consider this question; for example, if they work in healthcare. There are different reasons to choose either option. And you should think carefully about which one is right for your business.
Who Needs to Decide?
Almost everyone in business needs to make a decision about whether they’re going to provide a general service or a specialist one. You could be a business consultant who needs to choose whether they want to focus on a particular type of business. But companies who sell physical products should also think about which one is best for them. Sometimes the choice doesn’t mean picking a specialism and only offering your service in that area. You could just be using it as your primary point of sale to stand out from the crowd while also offering a broader range of products or services. If you take Statewide Bearings as an example, you can see that they focus on providing bearings for the manufacturing industry. But they also offer other products related to their initial offering.
Where’s the Demand?
There will almost always be a demand for specialist services in any industry. However, people will also look for suppliers who have a broad range of skills, knowledge and products. In some cases, generalizing might make you stand out if you can provide more than one product, where other businesses can’t. You should research your target audience. Find out who is looking for a particular skill set or product and who wants a catchall service.
Covering Your Bases
As mentioned before, you can have both a general a specialized service on offer. It takes a while to build up a specialized skill set, and younger people especially may not have expert knowledge. But to become knowledgeable in more concrete fields you need to get a firm understanding of more general topics first. Once you’ve moved into less generalized areas, you’ll still have a pool of knowledge from a range of subjects that you can draw on. However, some people see generalizing as having to be an expert on many different topics at once. This can certainly be true for some services and products, as it can be useless offering a product that isn’t informed by a solid understanding.
Although setting up your business to target as many people as possible sounds like a good idea, it could also mean more competition. By generalizing you could be competing with other generalists, as well as specialists. Providing a specialist service might reduce your potential customers, but it will make you more appealing to the people who are still interested.