Struggling with a business identity crisis?

The question: Do I have to offer multiple services?

Steve’s answer: Let your end goals guide you.

business "identity crisis"

Dear Steve,

Do you feel that the best route to success in this industry is to choose “just one” market and go after it as intensely as possible rather than risk spreading yourself out too thin? In other words, pick an identity and accept it and do your best with it?

We handle 4 or 5 different industry sectors (depending on how you segment them but everything from high-end residential to dirty, nasty apartments) and now am wondering if there is such a thing as a business identity crisis and especially in our marketing? What say you?

Slightly Confused and Wondering in Pittsburgh

Dear Slightly,

For me at least it was not so much a business identity crisis for the marketing as it is was an internal crisis with “confused” technicians. Due to our small market base (30,000 population) we were forced to offer many services. Our “mix” eventually became about 40% restoration, 30% regular contract commercial carpet cleaning and 30% high end residential. (That included quite a bit of residential maintenance plans.)

It almost was like owning three businesses that only had a scrub wand in common. The best answer is have “dedicated” employees for each division. (Dedicated in job function at least. As business owners we can only hope for the emotional dedication to the company!)

If I was in a large market base I would definitely specialize as a company. Which area? As a owner operator with a maybe a helper high end, “Prestige” cleaning is the way to go. Capitalize on the “custom” features you can offer along with your no doubt winning personality!

However, if I wanted employees with a smaller company I would seriously examine the contract commercial cleaning market. Why? It is a highly profitable area that is virtually overlooked much of the time and your employees require much fewer people skills. How to sell to this profitable niche? Download our Special Report: Selling Commercial Cleaning. The cash flow is also incredible in commercial contract work. Or if I really wanted to get big (and rich with lots of headaches) I would hit the restoration market big time. Congratulations, no more business identity crisis!

Your choice, Confused. That is what is so great about this industry. There are so many different roads to success. The challenge is choosing which one, which may be what you are talking about in your question above. Was my answer ANY help at all??????


P.S. I WILL remind you one thing you must avoid at all costs is what I call “The Road In-Between”! Read about it in another SFS Special Report: Avoiding the Road In-Between.

2 thoughts on “Struggling with a business identity crisis?”

  1. Steve you mentioned market size by population and not # of homes how is the best way to find the actual size of your market would it include using zip codes? For example I am in a rural area the nearest town is just 3 or 4 miles away and only has a population of 4,000, but there are other small towns less than 10 miles away and our state capitol is just 20 miles away and maybe 500,000 people there but I do like to work on my side of the county as much as possible to keep expenses down.

  2. Hey Bobby,

    There are a lot of web resources out there but may I suggest something a little lower-tech? How about your good old-fashioned Chamber of Commerce?

    Let us know what you find out.


    PS You CAN be successful, Bobby, with a smaller market base. Our TOTAL market base had 30,000 people in it and we did over a million dollars a year gross in today’s dollars.

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