Where do you go if you have a question these days?
World Book? Britannica? Nope.
More often than not, you ask Google and it tells you where to find the answers. Note the important fact that Google doesn’t know everything, but it seems to know where everything is – which is why people use it.
You can – and should – become the same thing for your niche.
Work to become the first person (or business) people want to go to for an answer – or where to find the answer – in your market.
That’s what Google really is, isn’t it?
One of the ways you get there is by being a student.
Thankfully, I don’t mean another hot, boring afternoon in Mr. Weenzer’s Algebra 2 class. I mean a student of other things as they relate to your market. Finance. Marketing. Important, disruptive technologies. Sales. Innovation. History (again, as they relate to your market).
An edge in all of these things over all of your competitors would be nice. Unlikely, but nice. An edge in at least one of them, in fact, an edge that you’ve hammered out and polished like a Ginsu knife, that’s the kind of edge I’m talking about.
While I suggest that you be a student, keep in mind that you can’t – no, you shouldn’t – expect to master everything.
Chet Holmes takes from his martial arts training saying that you should master 12 things by practicing them 4000 times, not trying to master 4000 things…(well, you get the idea).
If you don’t believe me or Chet, one look (above) at a scrunched down copy of Rich Schefren’s You diagram from his Internet Manifesto is enough to make your head spin. I included it simply to illustrate the futility of trying to be “the omnipotent, all-knowing one” about a zillion things.
I dunno about you, but going nuts trying to juggle 62 things and perfect 18 other things, all while learning 47 other things isn’t why I left the cushy 6 figure job for self-employment. Is that your reason? Didn’t think so:)
So why am I suggesting that you be a student? Simple. Learn or die.
By “die”, I don’t mean keel over into your chili, but I mean your business (and you) stop growing when you stop learning. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it empowers the entrepreneur.
Being a student means that you make an effort to know more about your market than any of your competition. If that’s the case, who do you think is going to become the one business to go to when someone needs a solution in that market? Who is always on top of things in our market? Oh yeah, that’s so and so.
But it could be you.
How about an example – you know, just to make this explanation even more long-winded:)
Let’s say that you are the expert in home propane stove installation. IE: stoves for homes that don’t have access to a natural gas pipeline. (You city folk just play along, OK?)
So your client has a propane tank out back and maybe you even stretch that to the point where your clients’ homes are off the grid. That requires propane refrigeration (or a heckuva lot of ice).
Not only do you have to become the expert on propane refrigeration but a resource on the stoves, on heating the home, electrical generation, solar panels, water recycling, battery inverters, generation systems and so on. Again, don’t feel like you have to know everything, but it sure helps to know where to find everything.
Think “I’m the Propane Google”. Or the “Off the Grid Google”, or whatever makes sense.
If you are sitting in the middle of Miami, Dallas, Opelousas or Chicago, this whole discussion about being off the grid could seem irrelevant.
Bear with me: when I talk about the propane based refrigeration, that I could just as easily be talking about custom golf clubs or Mercedes maintenance and upkeep, sprinkler systems, sailboats, organic farming, or the stock market (Bear Stearns, anyone?)
Bottom line, if you become the recognized expert in your niche, you are going to be the one that people come to when they need help. The recognized part is where the help is often necessary.
Don’t be shy.
Be the Google.