Frank and Mindy sat at the conference table listening to their top sales rep Jeff report on the client meeting he had earlier that morning.
Jackson Restaurant Supply was a distribution company that was looking to their firm to apply their unique methodologies and approach to implement a business intelligence application.
Not one of our core competencies
“These guys are sold on us.” Jeff said. “They’ve been to a few of our lunch ‘n learn sessions and have gotten excellent referrals from three of our previous clients. This might be our easiest sale ever.”
“We’ve never done a BI project before.” Mindy spoke up.
“That’s true, but this is a chance to get that experience.” Jack responded.
“That may be.” Frank added. “But we shouldn’t charge our clients to train our team on a new service offering.”
“We can recruit some BI people and build a team.” Jeff said.
“True.” Mindy agreed. ”But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. We have a core set of capabilities that we’re good at. If we start diluting that, it could offset our ability to do the things we already do extremely well.”
“Instead of trying to broaden our scope, we should try to deepen it to improve our existing market.” She added.
Define your core competencies
Thinking of this from a product perspective, when a peanut butter company markets their product, they publish recipes for peanut butter cookies and other ways to increase use of peanut butter to deepen their existing market. Advertising peanut butter as a substitute for caviar would be a huge waste of advertising dollars.
Instead of trying to be all things to all people, smart consulting firms stick to the core competences that they’re best at and continue to refine those skills to deepen their market.
Have you ever gone outside of your core competencies? What was the result?
If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com
As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.