Focus on Doing What You Do Best

What are you known for with your customers? Variety of products? Customer service? Make sure to focus on what you do best instead of being sidetracked.

Focus on Doing What You Do Best

Focusing on one or two specialty services and becoming known as "the place" for firearms, crossbows, bows or fishing gear can attract customers seeking the best.

No doubt you've seen this scenario play out time and again: a large company or smaller business becomes known for something, but then decides to branch out into other avenues and loses focus of what got them there.

We could list examples all day long, right? From small to large companies, those rags to riches to "What the heck happened to them?" stories are not new. They have happened forever and will continue to happen.

Here's the common scenario in the hunting, shooting or fishing sphere: WOC Company starts out making a Big Good Product everyone in their area loves. It works, is made with quality components, has a nice price point that's indicative of good craftsmanship but not too high or low, and they begin to grow throughout the state and region.

Next step? The bright lights, baby! Big shows, "pro staffs!" and WOC Company boss-founder decides to add six new products. They work, but he's focused on getting them right instead of the Big Good Product. Attention to detail begins slipping, and before long sales sag a bit. To shore up these sales he might add more new products but they're only closely related to Big New Product, which now is not in the spotlight anymore. It's on a crowded stage.

Then, something happens. Another shiny product from another company arrives. Politics and financial winds blow. Perhaps personal issues arise. Or all of that at once. Before long, WOC Company's Big Good Product and the slew of other things crowding it on the stage are ... sold. Or the company closes, or goes into bankruptcy.

There's a fine line, it seems, between sticking with what's working and chasing dreams or expanding. Huge considerations, potentially huge risks, rough downsides. Rarely does a business expand, see how things roll for a few years and then downsize to what they were before. It happens but not often.

What Do You Do Best?

What's the best thing you provide to your customers?

If you're a shooting sports retailer, is it a wide variety of products? Exclusive products? Are you known as "the ammo place" because you have or can get good supplies or unique calibers? Do you have specialists who work on guns, or someone who knows optics and mounting like an Olympic champion?

If you're an archery shop, is your reputation the best as "the shop" for tuning a bow? Do you work on crossbows and know the ins and outs of them? Some archery shops do not, for whatever reason, which means you're losing customers (unless no one at all in your area shoots crossbows, which would be rare).

If you're a fishing retailer, do you have a reel repair and spooling service that anglers appreciate? How about a top-notch "What's Biting!" board with the latest lure info? Or perhaps you're known for being the place with the best, friskiest, wiggly live bait.

A tackle shop not far from me for years had tanks with minnows. It was the only place to get them within, best I can tell, at least 10 miles of the next place, which was at least seven or eight miles from the next. Not a lot of minnow providers, unfortunately. And one year the closest place had an issue with their tanks, so they quit selling them. Talk about a royal pain in the tookus for folks wanting minnows. They sold artificial lures, of course, and crickets, but when you need minnows for crappie you gotta have them.

If you have a hankering for branching out, darn sure take the time to study the situation in your area, the financial implications and everything else associated with it. I'm not telling you anything new. Sometimes, though, getting a reminder before straying from what you do best isn't a bad idea.

McDonald's doesn't sell ribeye steaks and martinis. The Palm steakhouse doesn't offer Happy Meals. Focus on what you do best, concentrate on the quality of those products, and build your reputation as the best in that area.


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