Words: Corey Adams
I was never a fan of clichés. I always compared them to outdated stereotypes that did more harm than good. Nothing more than leftover remnants of the way things used to be. But then, as they say, curiosity killed the cat, and I began to dive deep into them. Deep into the nuance of every word, the how, when, and why of every time a mindless cliché was spewed out like an umbrella policy covering all situations. Only then did I grab ahold of one of these overused juggernauts and actually began to see how to apply it to the business. That cliché is, less is more.
We are all smack dab in the middle of the busy season. It seems that nothing could stop the construction train in 2020. We may have had some slowdown, but did it come back in a big way. This is when we as owners need to look at our own company and decide if less is more.
One of the common mistakes that many new, and small, businesses make is offering too many services. We have all seen the business card that has more services than a general bid package. Customers subconsciously judge that business card, and company, with another cliché, jack of all trades, master of none. What sets us apart from our competition is what we do best. Offering too many services gives the wrong impression to many customers.
As we grow as companies, we start to get an idea of what our dream project is. Our job as owners is to identify that project, then structure our company to get all of them. I personally like challenging projects close to home for educated clients. I know that this is where my niche lies. I make the most profit, get the most satisfaction, and live a better life when I complete these projects. I have tailored our company and marketing toward that goal.
Full disclosure, I do offer multiple services. In fact, they are closely related, but not connected. How we overcame the targeted marketing hurdle was to create two companies. Even though one company owns the other, the two can operate independently on the marketing, and service offering front. This allows us to offer multiple services without looking like the local handyman that does everything.
We defined our perfect projects for each, and used that to target less, but better, clients. This two-company model also allows us to place ourselves as specialists in each defined service. Making our website, social media, and business cards communicate that we do one thing better than everyone.
We all have a desire to branch out, and logically we can justify that more services equal more work, but does it? I passionately believe that it is easier to grow within a single service than spread yourself out. Different services require different skills, different tools, and different systems within your business. Once we find our dream project, we should concentrate our focus on obtaining as many dream jobs as possible.
This approach really boils down to one thing; define what you want more of and remove everything that is not helping you get there. Stating you want more work is a copout. Define the type of work you want and go for it.
Multitudes of small business owners disagree with this. They fear that offering too few services will result in too little work. Or even worse, they feel their marketing dollars need to offer everything at once. Both philosophies are wrong. When Arby’s comes out with a new sandwich does their advertising discuss the entire menu? There are many construction companies that only build certain use of buildings. It may be schools, restaurants, or medical. I can think of two local companies right now that only build dental offices. These companies have plenty of work.
Less is more. Once we define our dream project, and tailor our company, and marketing, to it, the possibilities are endless. Who doesn’t want to wake up every day and go to work on a dream project?