Back when I first started out my professional career as a web designer I would take on every and any web or media based job I could get my hands on. My list of services was a mile long. I did every thing from web design to video work. I was the jack of all trades and the master of none. After about two years of this it became apparent to me that I couldn’t keep up with the ever changing web languages, be proficient, feel comfortable providing services that weren’t mediocre, and have a life. It was time to focus on a few languages and services.
I cut down my services to only a handful that I’m really good at. Focused on them and what I needed to provide them. I am now a master of a few trades. My business has a focus and a niche in the market. My rates dictate that and so does the quality of work you will receive from my business. My clients and potential clients know exactly what my business provides. It was one of the best and most important things I could have done for my business. But it wasn’t easy.
Money is tempting especially if you are just starting out and every penny counts or if you just like money (which who doesn’t). One of the hardest days for me that tested my business integrity was the day a potential client asked me to do a service my business no longer offered. It was some thing I could do and it would have been a good pay day. I told the potential client I couldn’t help them. I pointed them to a few businesses that could.
At first it was hard knowing that I just let a bunch of money walk away from me. But deep down I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to provide the best service and I would have spent way to much time on the project because of it.
Now I have no problem passing up business even if I provide the service. There are various reasons. Here are a few.
- The project or service a potential client wants done is beyond what I can do or I’m capable of doing it but I don’t offer that service.
- The potential client has unrealistic expectations for the project and I’m not able to educate them so they will understand a realistic expectation. Such as a web site will automatically generate business for them.
- After talking to a potential client it becomes clear they want more than they are willing to pay for.
- After talking to a potential client it becomes clear they are too demanding. Instead of working with me to creating some thing awesome, they will trying to push around my business. In the end they will say they are happy but they really aren’t. There will always be some sort of aspect of the project that they will complain about. It means they won’t be happy with my business. It can be have a negative impact that can cause all sorts of problems. At minimum I would lose time and maybe have to refund money. Or even worse the client could say negative things about my business.
- If I took on the job that I don’t normally do and failed to produce quality results, I’m responsible for that. At minimum I would lose time and have to refund money. Worse than that the client could say negative things about my business or they could sue me.
I would rather not do the work, point the potential client to a business that can and have them be happy that I did because that business was able to fulfill their needs. If I don’t know of any businesses that can help, I don’t point them to any business, I just tell them sorry, I don’t know of any. Instead of creating a headache for myself and some one who thinks negative of my business.
Take the time to think about what services you offer.
- Are you actually providing the service to the best of your or your business’s abilities?
- Are there services that your business provides that causes headaches each and every time. Can you improve on that service so it doesn’t?
- Are there any services that you can cut out so you can focus your business and create a better niche market?
If you know exactly what your business does and how it does it. It is easy to convey that message to the world. Its easier for people to understand your business. Which will make it easier to get business.