Small Business Specializing & The Dip

    August 17, 2007

The other day, I wrote about how small businesses must specialize to succeed on the Web. Today, I read Seth Godin say it a lot better than I did. I haven’t read The Dip yet, although I have read all of Seth’s other books. But what he is saying makes a lot of sense.

Here is an excerpt from Seth’s short post:

If you’re doing your best, only your AYSO soccer coach cares. If you’re the best in the world, the market cares. The secret, if you have limited resources (don’t we all) is to make ‘world’ small enough that you can actually accomplish that.

That’s what I was trying to say the other day.

When you compete on the Web, you find that you can reach everyone but all your competitors can, too. And switching costs are minuscule. So, if your small business has always made money because you are the only one in town, you are living off proximity, not uniqueness. On the Web, every store is equally close to your customer, so you need to find some other way to compete.

Doing what everyone else did used to work because your store was closer than the others. Now, what is your differentiator? No what are you the best at? It’s not "closest." You need a new "est." Cheapest? Trendiest? Fastest? What’s your "est"?