Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Making Sure We Have Defined A Narrow Enough Business"

As we prepare for the new year, we might be examining what we do and how we might do it better or more effectively. Of course, starting a business, being in business, and staying in business takes a lot of stamina, resilience, planning - and a little luck. If we're fortunate enough to enter the market with a product or service that meets a need that no one else offers at the time, great. Likely, that wouldn't be the case for long, however.

Whenever the market discovers something good, more and more people want to get in on it. There are so many products that have been introduced in the past couple of decades that caught the market off-guard, but the market soon responded with dozens of companies competing for that market share.

Look at all of the commercial plazas, office buildings, and shopping centers that have been springing up. One might ask how there are that many businesses to fill them up. That's a good question, but one thing that happens is companies move from where they have been to a seemingly better location in search of new markets, better exposure, or more clients. Of course, that leaves their current location temporarily empty until someone else comes behind them to take it.

The constant search for the right location, the right product or service, the right market, or the right pricing leaves many of us looking for answers and trying to come up with good solutions.

Nevertheless, trying to provide more services or being more versatile is probably not the most prudent solution. Do we really need (or want) to be all things to all people - remodeling services from small to large, from one-day to one-year or more? What do we want to be known for providing? Because of the nature of providing aging in place and remodeling services, there is a great deal we can do from small repairs to major makeovers. 

Still, we need to define our business in terms of exactly how and where we want to compete in our marketplace. We might be very local focusing on only one neighborhood (depending on its size) or a small part of our community. We might take in the entire city, or we might be regional or larger. This is going to be determined by what we offer, how large we want to be, the logistics of providing it, the scope of our marketing, and other factors.

Finding a business model that excites us, defining a market area where we can be the very best at what we do, offering our products and services for a competitive price, and getting a reasonable referral business is the way to have an effective business. Rather than attempting to provide a wide range of services and offer so much that it may be difficult for the consumer to appreciate where our strength is, let's specialize and be the very best we can. Let's build a name for ourselves and be recognized as the expert in a specific product or service, the price point, the market niche, and the demographic that we decide we want to pursue.

We need to be able to state exactly what we do and who we serve so we, our strategic partners, and anyone who wants to refer work to us knows what we do, and there is no confusion. 

There are plenty of opportunities out there for others to have access to what we don't select, so let them worry about that. It's alright to take a narrow approach to what we provide. We can't serve everyone. Let's focus on what we are good at, what we like to do, and what our customers appreciate. As long as there remains a demand for what we are doing, we'll do well.

Helping people remain in their homes by creating effective solutions for them does not seem to be a pursuit that is going to lose favor with the marketplace for years to come.


Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging in place or universal design, visit or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.