When Is the Right Time to Narrow Your Focus?

I’ve passed by quite a few key-making stores lately. Yes, the places where you get a key made.

We’ve been in Europe since May, and I’ve seen lots of old, weird locks with all these crazy keys. The house we’re staying in has four keys. Two of them are skeleton keys. I guess when you’ve got lots of old locks, you need lots of key shops.

The key shops often sell things other than keys. There’s one down the block from us here in Edinburgh that sells keys, shoe repairs, postcards, SIM cards, and piles of other stuff. It even offers a pay-by-the-minute computer in the corner connected to the Internet. The store is overflowing, and it feels like it is doing half of its business out on the sidewalk. It’s a mess.

“I’m not big enough to narrow my focus to a niche.” That’s something one of the members of our Slack channel said the other day.

Her statement popped into my head as I walked by the messy key/SIM card/postcard/junk shop.

The key shop isn’t big enough to focus on a niche. That’s why it sells all that other stuff.

Unfortunately, the key shop and the lawyer have it backward.

You don’t wait to get big to narrow your focus.

You only get big enough IF you narrow your focus to a niche. The focus is what makes you better, stronger, and, ultimately, bigger.

A narrow focus gives you an opportunity to learn the details. The narrow focus allows you to practice until you become the best. The narrow focus gives you the experience required to be an expert and deliver your offering with exceptional results.

A narrow focus gives you the opportunity to turn those results into a powerful message. Your clients tell others. You tell others. Everyone knows you as that lawyer: the lawyer who’s amazing at doing that thing and getting the best outcomes.

If you make keys for 10 minutes and then repair shoes for 10 minutes and then sell a SIM card followed by a postcard, you don’t become an expert at anything. No one is impressed. No one is blown away by what you do or how you do it. People only talk about you when you solve their problems with expertise.

Nobody wants the lawyer who gets average results. Everyone wants the lawyer who is the expert at solving the problem. If you’re going to sell keys, then sell keys. Be amazing. Make the best keys. Be the key shop that people around the world talk about. Don’t let shoe repairs and postcards get in your way.

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