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Do Consultants Really Need to Specialize?

By Michael Zipursky
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This is a conversation I have with consultants I coach all the time.

It’s a topic I’ve written and talked about on several occasions.

Positioning yourself as a specialist doesn’t put you in a corner. That’s a concern I hear all the time and it’s off the mark.

And it’s one of the biggest areas of misunderstanding for consultants.

The question I get is “do I need to specialize?”

My answer is YES, however, there’s more to it than that…

The Goal of Specialization

If your goal is to land more clients and you’re getting started in the consulting business, than yes, specialization will help you.

Why? Because once you’ve decided who your ideal clients are, what industry they are in and in what way you will help them – your marketing becomes more focused.

If you’re new to this business, or simply want to get more clients you need to market your services.

That means you must be clear on who to target your message to.

Let’s look at two examples…

In the first, a consultant wants to get clients. They don’t know who their ideal clients are and they haven’t decided what service offerings to focus on. They go do some networking. They try to get some speaking opportunities or write some blog posts.

In the second example, a consultant decides they will use their experience in online marketing to position themselves as an online marketing consultant. They will help companies to increase their online sales. Their ideal clients are e-commerce businesses. They write articles for e-commerce publications and speak at their associations. They go to events related to that topic.

Now, which consultant do you believe will see greater success?

Which will spend less money trying to reach their ideal clients?

Which will feel and be more focused?

You get the point, right?

Specialization helps you accomplish all of this.

Cornering Yourself

Positioning yourself as a specialist doesn’t put you in a corner. That’s a concern I hear all the time and it’s off the mark.

You specialize to position yourself to get maximum result from your efforts and activities. So you can penetrate a market (where your ideal clients are) and make a name for yourself. So you are seen as an authority and expert.

That doesn’t mean that our online marketing consultant focusing on e-commerce companies from above can’t take business from a manufacturing company that wants to start selling online. Or a publisher that wants to get more online leads.

As a consultant, nothing is holding you back except yourself.

You are free to go after and accept any business you want.

And that’s why you don’t have to specialize. Get it?

Different Stages

Specializing early on, as a starting point, will help you accelerate your business and stay focused as you launch.

As time goes on you can shift your focus, open up to new markets and change your message to focus on different service offerings.

If you’re just getting started as a consultant or want to grow your business to $100,000 you’ll find the Momentum Program very helpful.

If you’re running a consulting business doing more than $100,000 and want to take your business or small consultancy firm to the next level and attract significantly more clients on a consistent basis be sure to see this Clarity Coaching Program.

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