Being All Things to All People Eventually Makes You Nothing to Everybody

You can’t be all things to all people. Otherwise you turn out looking like the wishy-washy politicians we have in the District of Criminals.

It takes courage to say no to your constituents and say no and to a paying customer.

What?! Turn away a paying customer? You gotta be kiddin’ me?

Nope. I’ve done it before, and not just to hang on to my pride, but to survive.

Let me explain.

Let’s say you have a business that specializes in brake repairs on automobiles. You have three mechanics who work for you. One of them is a master mechanic. He can do just about anything. A friend of yours comes into your shop and asks you to repair his muffler, change his oil and rotate his tires. You could use the extra business, and this is your friend, so you take the job.

Fast-forward one year and word has gotten out that you’re a “do all” kind of shop, and you no longer have a unique selling proposition. You’re busier than a pack of coyotes fighting over a carcass, but you’re not making the profit margins you used to make.

What happened?

By generalizing your business, and allowing the wrong kind of “word of mouth” advertising to get out about you and your business, you gave up three significant advantages:

1. You lost the overhead savings that came from doing only one thing, and doing it good.
2. You went from a business that had a memorable purpose to something very ordinary and easily forgotten.
3. You gave up the high profit margins that come from specializing in one product or service.

MacDonald’s sells several dozen products today and has stores all over the world. When Roy Kroc bought the old MacDonalds burger stand from the MacDonald brothers, he focused on hamburgers and fries, then franchised his idea and business model. If he had succumbed to the temptation of turning his restaurant into a diner, he would have become just another diner owner instead of one of the most successful restaurateurs in American history.

And he would have easily been forgotten.

When I was growing up, my dad worked a full time job and preached full time. He traveled a lot to preach in churches throughout Texas and Oklahoma. He would hold revivals that would run for the whole week. Nowadays, if you see a revival at all, it might run just a few days.

Before he went into a town to do the revival, he would get posters and fliers printed up announcing the “gospel meeting” and have them plastered all over town in just about every store window on the square. (Back then, that’s where everybody went to go shopping. They didn’t have malls back in the 50’s and early 60’s.)

Come time for the revival, he had a packed house, nearly the whole week, and had “standing room only” on many nights.

He did things in a big way, but he did one thing really good: deliver one heck of a sermon.

He preached. He didn’t get up there and lead singing. He didn’t do all the other functions of the church. He just preached. But boy! When he did, you didn’t forget it.

He had a unique selling proposition.

There’s another guy over at who builds the cleanest screensaver ever. Not the “memory hogs” put out by Microsoft and other programmers that don’t know what they’re doing. This guy has a patented process where he plugs in a line of code in his software to “free up” the memory every time the screen saver bops out.

Not only that, but he made the engine of his software play your own videos! The engine could be used in corporate training videos, or to run pics and videos for those big screen tv’s when they’re not on. You know the ones I’m talking about. Those big black squares and rectangles on the wall? Well, he’s developed the engine to run the pics and videos so that your big screen tv will play works of art on it… like a screen saver.

He has a unique selling proposition: he builds screen savers… or more appropriately, he builds the engine that “drives” them.

The engine will play digital, HD, and still pics. Whatever you connect it to… high definition 1080p videos, multimedia movies, you name it.

USA TODAY calls it “sweet.” Steve Oedekerk at O Entertainment calls it “cool technology.”

The screensaver (and engine) runs in Windows 7, XP and Vista.

This is the only high-definition capable video and multimedia screensaver available anywhere that I know about.

No brag. Just Fact.

So… find one thing you’re good at. Make sure you have a market for it. And do it big time.

In short: stay focused.

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