There was a time when being a Jack of All Trades, Master of None seemed like a great idea. The thought was to offer something to everyone. Sure, you couldn’t really do it all yourself, but you could partner. Companies in numerous industries chased this theory with a so-called Best of Breed strategy. I worked for one such company that tripped over themselves doing this. But that’s another story.
I stated this post with the words there was a time because I think such a time for Best of Breed strategies existed and their time has passed.
There’s a great temptation to be a Jack of All Trades business. It’s hard to turn-down an opportunity, which temps us to always say “Yes.” Consultants and professional service firms often fall into this trap — web designers offering marketing services, copywriters offering lead generation services, etc. I’ve fallen into this trap too.
But I believe we’re in a different time — a time where specialist are in greater demand. As time and distance become less important in business, finding someone who specializes in your particular interest is easier than ever. And a side effect of a connected society is the risk doing business with people you aren’t familiar with is more manageable than before. The specialist is now accessible by more people and more easily found.
Jack of All Trades is a business model based on the belief you should have a solution for nearly 10 of the 10 people you encounter. Specializing may mean 6 of the 10 people you encounter don’t believe you’re a good fit for what they need. For many that’s the rub. For others, that’s the opportunity– being the perfect solution for the 4 out of 10 who are looking for the exact things you do.
Food for thought — what’s yours?