Raising Cane’s, a restaurant chain that started with a single location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1996, sells one thing – chicken fingers. The chain does not sell burgers, fish, or even a variety of types of chicken – just one item cooked in one style, along with a limited selection of sides. With more than 100 restaurants nationwide, the company is expanding by leaps and bounds. Raising Cane’s stays true to its mantra: “One Love.”
Manhatten-based hair salon Drybar performs one service – washing and blow drying hair. In fact, its slogan is “No cuts. No color. Just blowouts.” According to a USA Today article, the company’s customer base is “swelling.”
“Our philosophy is simple,” says the Drybar website. “Focus on one thing, and be the best at it.”
Niche Risk and Reward
Focusing on one thing certainly carries with it great risk potential. If you fail at that one thing, there may be literally nothing to fall back on. That’s not to say you can’t change direction, but with the passionate commitment toward a singular focus as expressed by these two companies, it’s a win or lose proposition.
Of course, there is also great potential for reward. A singular niche focus distinguishes you and your business from everyone else in the marketplace, and if your product or service is good enough – and I can personally attest to the quality of Raising Cane’s food and service – you may have a winner on your hands.
The lesson for me in these examples is that I need to follow suite. Over the past 16 years I’ve been involved with Internet marketing in one form or another and have morphed from being an online marketing consultant to business blog consultant to social media consultant. As it pertains to the later, there is one of those under every bush nowadays.
In order to distinguish myself, I’ve recently had to “reenvision” what my business model should be and have determined that I need to focus on “social commerce consulting.” Let me tell you why I’ve reached that conclusion.
A Happy Accident
During a recent round of Google searches, I happened on something that was truly serenpdipitous. When you search the term “social media consultant” (or certain variations) I rank on page one. In fact, I’ve heard reports from friends across the US, Canada and the UK that I rank as highly as number one. I wish I could say I used high-powered SEO tactics to purposefully achieve that rank. In reality, it was a happy accident, but one that has given me a new sense of purpose for my business.
Social Commerce Background
The serendipitous moment notwithstanding, I have plowed the social commerce row for nearly a year now, writing about it on two sites – Practical Ecommerce and Social Commerce Today. Also, along with Dr. Paul Marsden, Editor of Social Commerce Today, I’ve been privileged to pen two books on the topic: The F-Commerce Handbook and The Social Commerce Handbook, which will be released October 12, 2012. (Both are published by McGraw-Hill.)
Social Commerce for Small Business
Actually, I want to niche my business even further by focusing on social commerce for small business – small-to-medium-sized businesses anyway. SMBs are experiencing some of the greatest success as it applies to turning social media into social sales and I want to provide leadership and training to help them do an even better job of it.
(So, does that mean a brand transformation from “the social media handyman” to the “social commerce handyman?” Hmmm.)
It’s nearly time for lunch and, suddenly, I have a craving for some chicken fingers. Cane’s, here I come!