Have you ever heard the phrase, “A Jack of all trades is a master of none”?  While a “Jack of all trades” used to be a compliment to all the Renaissance Man types who seemed to be able to do it all, in recent history the phrase has a new ending on it, the result implying a less positive spin on the title.

So it always surprises me when I ask my clients to define their target audience and they respond with “Well, Everyone.”  In business today, you can’t be a Jack-of-all-trades.  There’s just too much competition.  When you appear to be able to provide everything to everyone, it makes your business seem less reliable, less qualified and sometimes even downright suspicious.

To counteract this relatively new, but definitely important attitude of the masses, you need to specialize both your products and services and really narrow down your focus to your true, clearly defined target market.

What’s Your Real Passion?

Think about it: what makes you stand out in your industry?  What do you do the best and why are you the best at what you do?  What makes you stand out in the minds of your potential and current customers?

To avoid the Jack-of-all-trades syndrome, you can start by exploring your true interests and passions and narrowing down your area of expertise.

You need to determine:

  • What you offer that is truly THE best in your industry, and
  • What you would really love to do with those skills.

For example, yes, a chiropractor can adjust anyone’s back, just as a travel agent could plan anyone’s dream vacation.  But even chiropractors can benefit from specialization.  Let’s say you’re a skilled chiropractor with great passion for helping the elderly.  You understand that their backs still need to be adjusted, but their bones need a special, gentle touch and your patients also require a compassionate, understanding bedside manner.

Combine your passions and your skill set and you’re ready to specialize.  By specializing, you differentiate yourself from your competitors so you can appeal to the audience with whom you like to work.  Now it’s time to define your true target audience.

“Everyone” is Not Your Target Market

You can’t be everything to everyone.  It just doesn’t work and it’s the key recipe for business failure.

Maybe it’s true that your brand, your product, your business and/or your services could be used by Everyone, but to really sell your product and your value proposition, Everyone isn’t who you should be targeting.

In the example above, this chiropractor should clearly define their target market (the elderly and/or those in need of extra patience and careful care) and then direct their brand, marketing and advertising efforts appropriately.


Because when you specialize and clearly define your target audience, you won’t have to market to Everyone just to get a generic message out there.  Too generic a message, you aren’t able to differentiate yourself from your competition and your target won’t reach out and self-select your business.  In other words, specialize and market to the right audience and the clients come to you! (What a concept, right?)

With specialization and a clearly defined target market, you:

  • Create the appearance and establish credibility as THE expert in your specific field, and
  • Get the customers you really have a passion for working with.

In short, you will get the customers you want!  And that’s what specialization and targeted marketing is all about!