You’ve been hearing a lot about specialization from me because it’s what I’m passionate about. It’s amazing to see individuals and businesses thrive because they truly offer unique value to the marketplace which drives repeat sales and allows the merchant to charge a premium.
Last week I used the analogy that being a commodity is like trying to differentiate between waves in the ocean—you get lost. “Well, think of specialization as the golden board that helps you spot the perfect wave and ride it high above your competition.” It’s the key to your freedom.
Now here’s where it gets messy. The moment you think what you know is unique and special or the product you produce is one of a kind, blink. It’s over. That’s how quickly your specialized knowledge or cool new gadget or formula or service lasts as something that’s truly different.
Nothing new—in and of itself—ever lasts. Think about it. The moment a new product hits the shelves or a new service is revealed, hundreds of discount manufacturers and service providers have duplicated it and are charging half the price. It doesn’t matter if it’s an IPod, sneaker, cold & flu remedy, gardening method, formula to pay down your mortgage in half the time, new diet fad or online investment service. It may gain notoriety for a short period of time, but eventually there will be dozens of products and services just like it being offered in your back yard.
Why? I’ll give you one guess. You’re right: money. Money, baby. The moment your unique knowledge hits the streets and catches people’s attention, the vulchers smell the dollar signs and in what seems like minutes, you’ve got competition from here to Shanghai.
But don’t fret. The good news is, competition is cool because everyone else is playing on the same field with all the same players and has to compete just like you, and who knows, maybe they haven’t read this blog yet. Yeah, right.
More importantly, whether you like or not, the competition has forced you to get better. If you don’t get better and provide more value to the marketplace, your business is going to be six feet under ground in a hurry. Basically, competition says, “get your head out of your ass pal because I’m about to kick your ass up and down the street until you’re out of business.” Which means you’ve got to stay ahead of your competition.
Enter the specialization formula. The specialization formula has 4 components:
4. Specialized Knowledge
Now you’ve got an edge. Most “players” (a.k.a. posers who are in your business short term because your product/service is selling like crazy and are just trying to make some fast cash) will be out of business in two years or less. Your job is to stay ahead by incorporating all four elements of the specialization formula. They all come together to work in harmony, allowing you to bring a really unique, special product or service to market.
The “players” think they can simply replicate the product or service (the specialized knowledge component of the specialization formula), cut the price, and last. “Wrong.” They may make some short term cash but without the other three elements in place, they’ll dry up.
Stay tuned for a in depth break down of each of the four pillars in the specialization formula.