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I heard this story of fish in the ocean all swimming in the same area, hunting for food. This area is a relatively small and is red because of the blood of the hunted, with many fish fighting for the smallest morsel. Yet elsewhere there is an entire beautiful blue ocean because no fish are hunting there.
Is your agency swimming in shark-infested waters? Or have you found a tranquil patch of clear blue sea to paddle around in?
The market for generalists has never been so crowded. Everywhere you look, there’s agencies trying to be all things to all people. The waters they swim in have been bloodied by fierce competition playing out between rival businesses. In attempting to appeal to everyone, they end up being no one’s first choice.
When you need a specialist surgery, you don’t entrust your GP with the task - instead, you find the best surgeon you can get your hands on. A surgeon like this serves far fewer people than the GP.
The surgeon has less competition: only a few people are qualified to do the work he does. And as a result, he sets his own (higher) prices.
Finding your unique space in the marketplace is just like this. Without a clearly defined value proposition, you’ll be stuck in blood-red waters, eking out survival like everyone else.
However, if you can break free and find those blue waters, the world is your oyster - you’ll enjoy bigger profits, more rewarding work, happier clients, and less stress all around.
I’ve successfully employed this strategy in my own business. After briefly floundering around as a general business coach, I decided to play to my strengths. Knowing the creative agency sector as intimately as I do gave me a critical edge over my competitors. The waters I swam in grew bluer by the day, my value proposition became much more compelling, and I instantly began to speak my clients’ language.
Finding your blue ocean is essential if you want your agency to succeed in the long-term. This is one of the key areas I help my coaching clients with. We work together to develop a strategy that allows you to move from your current position to your target position, employing a systematic, structured approach to the process.
If you’re ready to establish your unique position in the marketplace, get in touch to find out more or click on the purple banner below to schedule a FREE call with me.
Good question! My advice is go as niche as you can (provided that niche has a big enough market) and then you can always grow out from there. Remember, a niched agency will always win against a generalist (after all, would you go to a knee specialist or your GP for knee surgery? And which of these 2 would charge more?
For some this is easy, for others you need to do some research: work out the intersection between your passion, where you make the biggest revenues and where you have achieved the biggest results. You can niche in 4 ways. Have a read of my detailed blog on this topic to learn more.
Ask yourself, how many of these 'opportunities' are you currently winning? If you want to work with clients who appreciate the value of what you bring and you know you can make a significant impact for them, then niching is the way forward. Still confused? Click on the purple banner below and book a free strategy call with me.
I have 30+ years of commercial business experience. After beginning my career by working in various blue chip companies, I took the leap In 1991 to start my own marketing, PR and design agency. Over the next 11 years, I grew the business into an award-winning agency with 25 staff and revenues in excess of £1.5m. In 2002, I sold the business and then retrained to become a coach and mentor. Since forming Da Costa Coaching in 2007, I have helped over 300 agencies to grow in a sustainble, profitable and enjoyable way.
Director, PR Academy
Sometimes you need to take time out in a structured way to think about your business. It is very easy to get sucked into the day to day running and not have enough thinking time. By working with Rob, not only did we have that time, but it was structured and focused. Rob introduced us to useful models and approaches and helped us to think about how to shape the business.
MD, The PPC Machine
I have been working with Rob since founding my business three years ago. I chose him thanks to a personal recommendation from a colleague who had worked with Rob and also because he had experience of running his own successful agency in the past. Rob's coaching has helped me gain clarity on how I want my business to develop and given me a clear sense of direction. I can also think of several occasions where Rob's advice has enabled me to win a client I would not otherwise have won and also to charge higher fees than I would otherwise have done. I genuinely believe my business would not be where it is today without Rob's input.
MD, SHED Research
As an established independent consultant, I was starting to get a seven-year itch. I wanted a clearer idea of where I was taking my business and I was struggling to articulate a vision for myself. That's when I came to Rob. He was invaluable. He made me consider my options and explore each in detail. It quickly became apparent which I was most passionate about. From there, he helped me clarify it in a meaningful way - so it would motivate my target market, and so it would be profitable. My new proposition has been a huge success and has led to fascinating new work with new clients. Rob has been a big part of making this happen.