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As a business grows, its tempting to keep bolting on more products and services, as we recognise more and more market needs. Before too long, what starts out as a ‘Specialist’ business ends up being ‘Full Service’.

The problem with being Full Service isn’t the model itself – its that the environment has shifted around it.

Today, every business is becoming more and more reliant on connection – to find external resources for skills they can’t fill themselves. When potential business partners are looking to fill resource gaps – they won’t consider partnering with a Full Service business because:

  1. They don’t want to introduce a full service competitor to the client for fear of losing the account, and
  2. They’re only looking for someone who’s the best at solving a specific business problem, not a generalist

So to win as a Full Service business means you must get a client’s entire account. To do this, your in house team must be the best at every discipline and thus quash any other players in the market. This is possible, but already difficult and getting harder by the day.

As a Specialist, you get to be the very best in one area. Specialists work cooperatively in multiple partnerships with other ‘very best’ players in the market, collectively providing the very best service to the client. Because other business partners aren’t threatened by you, they will gladly spread your name, meaning Specialist businesses are inherently viral.

Now that business is moving away from industrial scale and towards connection, one model clearly makes more sense for the long term.

Only do what only you can do.

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