Saturday, May 13, 2017

"Specializing In What We Are Good At Doing"

We are living in an age of specialization. While there still are generalists - physicians, for instance, who are general practitioners or mechanics that do basically anything mechanical on a car - most of the time we seek the help of a specialist. This is a person especially trained on just one aspect of something - brakes on a car, for instance.

We appreciate the talent that a utility infielder has on the baseball diamond - being able to play multiple positions well - or the rare football player who plays both offense and defense - but no one comes to mind who has made the hall of fame in their sport by playing more than just a single position for which they became very accomplished. They may have other roles along the way, but at some point, they specialized and that allowed them to excel at that position.

In a similar way, it might beneficial for us to market our aging in place services as a little bit of something for everyone - telling the marketplace that there's almost nothing in remodeling or aging in place solutions that we can't implement, conquer, offer, or suggest.

While that might even be true, we don't want to use this as a marketing approach because we want to be known as the "go-to" person for a certain aspect of what people are looking for in a renovation. We want people to recognize our abilities and talents in working with certain areas of the home or in dealing with particular types of issues or concerns. We want them to reach out and contact us when their needs align with our business model and what we have chosen to provide.

Because this is an age of specialization rather than that of generalists, we need to narrow our focus in geography, job scope, price point, needs of the client, strategic services we bring to the job beyond what we personally perform, and the age and type of property. We can't really be as good serving the entire breadth of a market as we can in being more concentrated.

In deciding to work with a certain age of home (era, if you prefer), we can become an expert in building styles and methods that were used in the original construction plus common solutions to improve deficiencies, such as wiring, amperage, appliances, doorways, hardware, hallways, cabinetry, ceiling heights, fixtures, ventilation, windows, lighting, entrances, flooring, stairs, and more.

By choosing certain aspects of the home to excel at in our renovating or constructing, we can be reasonably confident that we are aware of techniques for creating accessibility, safety, comfort, and convenience in kitchens, baths, bedrooms, or other areas of the home where we choose to focus.

Price point is an area that many people shy away from addressing - preferring to do whatever jobs come their way or avoiding discussing price or budget until the job in well along toward being finalized. Knowing what is comfortable and profitable is a much stronger way of presenting ourselves to potential clients and customers.

Taking the general types of services we want to provide, the price point or budget that we prefer or that is comfortable for us, the general age of the homes we want to work on, and the issues we want to address for our clients and customers, we can begin determining what market area we want to pursue and where we want to perform our services - as contractors, designers, OTs, PTs, consultants, or other professionals. This can be a relatively compact area such a neighborhood, or it can be a series of neighborhoods or an area. It should not require us to spend a tremendous amount of time driving between the jobs or areas to call on new customers or perform the work already sold.

Then we can concentrate on becoming a specialist for serving the needs of the market area that we have defined and in knowing all we can about that area. This will help us to formulate typical solutions (in advance) that we might recommend for general aging-in-place and safety renovations. Also, we can become more sensitive as to how we might approach specific improvements in the homes where the work might be performed.

In short, becoming an expert on a specific area and the go-to resource will help us serve our clientele much more effectively.


____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.