How broadly do you define your business?

We’re living in an age where business success is shrouded in a conundrum. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Regular readers of these pages are well aware that I promote finding a niche for your product or service. The “riches are in the niches,” I like to say.

And while this is very true, our current commercial climate is also supporting businesses that broadly define themselves. Typically, these are tech companies. They seem to have the okay from market watchers and industry analysts to do whatever they want and find support.

For example, while a legacy company like Ford gets judged very strictly on how many cars it sells and at what kind of margins, a company like Tesla—while cars are its main product—is viewed as a “tech” company and is given a tremendously high market value despite the fact that it doesn’t sell all that many cars.

We see Amazon selling virtually any item you would find in your local mall and at the same time it sells server space, streams entertainment, develops and sell gadgets, and much more. Google not only provides search results, it powers smartphones, develops gadgets, lays fiber optic cables, and much more.

Right now, Facebook is getting a lot of attention because it’s gearing up to create original content, much like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have been doing in recent years.

Can a small business or medium-sized business expand in similar ways? Probably not to the degree that we see these major players do it—smaller businesses just don’t have the resources to branch out so radically and take those kinds of risks.

However, I don’t think there is any doubt that technology is a major element of many business ventures today. And, if technology is at the core of your business plan, I suggest you explore ways to frame yourself as a tech company, not just a local digital marketing firm, for example.

When technology is at the core of your product or service, there’s a good chance you have the talent in-house to expand into other tech areas. You might find some that offer even more potential for success than the area where your current business model is centered.

If you’re mining a niche for all its worth and experiencing excellent growth, you can probably put this advice on the back burner for a while. But, I still recommend keeping an open mind to letting your tech tentacles freely explore other opportunities when the time seems right.

SOURCESusan Solovic
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Susan Solovic
Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com and USA Today bestselling author, and attorney. She was the CEO and co-founder of SBTV.com—small business television—a company she grew from its infancy to a million dollar plus entity. She appears regularly as a featured expert on Fox Business, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and can be seen currently as a small business expert on the AT&T Networking Exchange website. Susan is a member of the Board of Trustees of Columbia College and the Advisory Boards for the John Cook School of Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University as well as the Fishman School of Entrepreneurship at Columbia College. 

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