In the world of business we’re constantly told to focus on a product area, that we must have a well-defined niche, that we need to resist the urge to be jacks of all trades and instead build a reputation as being the best at one thing. Most of the time, this is sage advice; however, I’ve recently been questioning the wisdom of the niche – particularly as it pertains to B2B services. Can a case be made for being jack of all trades? Let’s say you’re a budding entrepreneur with a small start-up. Your time is in high demand – there aren’t enough hours in the day – and you need digital marketing services. Specifically, you need someone to manage your paid advertising, your blog and content marketing, your website and local SEO, your newsletter marketing, and your social media profiles. Which would you prefer:
- You can choose a different specialist for each type of marketing you need; in doing so, you’ll need to bring each separate service provider up-to-speed on your goals, budget, company profile, products, and services. Moreover, you’ll need to constantly serve as communicator between each service provider to ensure cohesive multi-channel marketing campaigns – including copy-writing, distribution, and artwork.
- You can choose a single service provider that offers all of these services under one roof. In doing so, you’ll be able to communicate a single message and let your service provider manage your team.
Both options can yield the same results, but only the second option frees your time to focus on growing your business, interacting with customers, and guiding your company to the future. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, a jack of all trades can be a godsend. Let’s look at another example: let’s say you want to launch a direct-mail postcard marketing campaign. In this case, you could:
- Rent a mailing list from one provider, have your postcards designed by another provider, have your postcards printed by yet another provider, and visit the Post Office yourself to mail your postcards (after working to get an Indicia for bulk rate mailing).
- Have a single company provide your mailing list, postcard design, postcard printing and addressing, and postcard mailing (with their Indicia).
Again, you can see the time drains associated with choosing multiple providers in the first option and the time-freeing hands-off approach taken by the second option. For entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses, time is the most valuable commodity; and one you can’t control. You can, however, free time by sourcing marketing services under one roof: hence, the value of jacks of all trades. What do you think? Can a case be made for jacks of all trades? Is quality and expertise comparable between niche providers and one-stop shops? Let us know in the comments!