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Big Pond or Big Fish?

The Big Pond appears to be full of clients. But the Big Fish are there too. Which is better: to be where there appears to be plenty of clients despite the big competition, or to be where there’s less opportunity, but less competition?

Statistical power laws say that number one in the market has two times the business of number two, who has two times the business of number three. Unless you’re number one or number two in a category, you’re fighting a million competitors for scraps out in the long tail.

If you’re Amazon, the long tail is fine. If you don’t have a way to fulfill 10 million long-tail orders a day, you may want to look into a smaller pond where you can be a big fish.

Or better, THE BIG FISH.

Positioning is all about staking your claim in your prospects’ and suspects’ minds. The long tail is a hard claim to state. The big fat head? That’s where you want to be.

So how do you find this smaller pond to be The Big Fish in?

You don’t find it.

You create it.

Your Own Pond: Finding Your Niche

If you can’t be number one in your business category, create a category to be number one in.

For example, there are plenty of brand strategists. It’s too broad category to stand out. There are even quite a few brand strategists helping small businesses. So let’s narrow the niche even further.

How about brand strategies for small family owned businesses?

Not entrepreneurs. Not little businesses with a traditional employer/employee arrangement.

Does this make sense?

It’s small enough to have little or no direct competition. It’s large enough to provide opportunities. It’s a logical segment based on how the business is organized. And it’s a category where I have extensive experience.

In this pond, I can be THE BIG FISH.

But doesn’t swimming in a smaller pond mean you’ll miss out on some opportunities?

Not necessarily.

So there you are, being Big-Fishy in the Small Pond and you keep getting tangled in the weeds of FOMO, the fear that you’re missing out on clients and work because you’ve narrowed your niche.

Fear not, me fishies. You’re not missing much.

Two things are happening:

  1. Your peacock feathers, the consistent business personality of your branding, will help people find you who otherwise wouldn’t, clients who are even a better match than anything you’re missing out on.
  2. Existing clients will expand their use of your services because we trust specialists, even outside their specialty.

Here’s what that means:

If someone is brilliant at doing X we assume they’re brilliant at doing Y. It’s human nature. Tight specialization gives you an aura of expertise because you are an expert in your specialized Small Pond.

Specialize. Clearly define your niche. Carefully choose, and then display, the business personality you want to be known for.

Be the Big Fish.

Own that Pond.

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