Specializing in one product or service allows you to focus on delivering that thing better than everyone else. It enables you to hire (or train) specialists in your field, improving the quality of your work, which leads to happier customers. And satisfied customers buy again and refer their friends.
That’s why specialists often grow faster even while they are spending less on marketing, leading to better profit margins and, ultimately, a more valuable company. Specializing in a specific product or service has tremendous benefits, but what if your customers expect you to deliver a range of offerings?
That’s when the second form of specialization can help: focusing on your core competencies and give customers what they want.
Specializing in serving a specific industry confers several benefits. First, offering your products or services to one industry allows you to learn the language spoken in that sector. Every industry and profession has a unique language, and being able to speak the jargon can benefit your company. Knowing your industry’s lingo can indirectly communicate to your customers that you are experienced, knowledgeable, and able to navigate the space. Be THE industry guru!
Furthermore, focusing on one sector ensures you stay current with industry trends, which will result in being able to identify new opportunities for your customers sooner than a competitor who serves multiple industries.
Most importantly, specializing in one industry allows your employees to become experts in a sector. You may be an expert in an industry, but chances are, they’re not (particularly when you first hire them). Focusing on a sector accelerates how quickly your staff can become fluent in your industry’s lexicon, which allows you to delegate customer relationship management faster and more successfully.
What next? Focus on adjacent industries
For example, look at the story of UK-based founder Raman Sehgal. Sehgal started a small marketing agency called ramarketing in 2009. By 2015 the business had grown to the Pound Sterling equivalent of around $500,000 USD in revenue, but the company was losing customers as fast as they were winning new ones.
Frustrated with his company’s lack of progress, Sehgal decided to do a complete analysis of his business. He found that ramarketing’s most valuable customers (low maintenance, sticky, high gross margin, etc.) were in the pharmaceutical industry. Sehgal decided to pivot his business to solely serve clients in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Beginning to serve one industry created a sequence of positive events for ramarketing.
Becoming an industry specialist allowed ramarketing to stay up to date with industry trends, learn the lingo, and ultimately improve the quality of their work. An increase in customer satisfaction led to more referrals and a strong reputation in the sector.
His employees began to understand the intricacies of the industry. In the pharmaceutical space, there are many rules and laws to adhere to. Understanding the regulations allowed Sehgal’s employees to better serve their customers.
Subsequently, the business boomed. Sehgal’s once stagnant marketing agency grew from $500,000 in turnover in 2015, to over $10 million by 2022, which is when Sehgal accepted an acquisition offer from NorthEdge Capital of more than 10x EBITDA.
Sehgal’s bold decision to specialize in the pharmaceutical industry led to a 20x increase in revenue and, ultimately, a lucrative exit.
Narrowing your product or service line is the most common way to increase your company’s value but specializing in one industry carries many of the same benefits.