7 ways that narrowing your market position is like getting your first nose hair trimmer

I’m going to be 42 years old this August. A few months ago, it was brought to my attention that I should start using a nose hair trimmer, so I bought my first one.

I’ve learned that this is actually a lot like narrowing your market position. Who knew!

I’ve identified 7 ways in which narrowing your market position is a lot like getting your first nose hair trimmer.

1) It’s a sign of maturity

I made it through 41 years without having to use a nose hair trimmer!

Many professional services businesses also get to the threshold of mid-life before they have to tackle the issue of market position. Maybe they ride an extended wave of luck, or perhaps doing great work and getting referrals is enough for a good long while.

But eventually… age catches up with you. And then you need a tool to make things better.

2) It seems like the damn thing might cut you at first until you actually try it

How can you just stick some machine with spinning blades powered by an electric motor into your nose hole and not get cut? It seems so risky, even though the packaging assures you you’ll be fine!

Narrowing your market focus also seems very likely to harm you. How do you exclude clients? Won’t that give you a bad reputation, or cause a loss of revenue?

3) It feels unnecessary until you are old enough to know that it’s not

20-year old me scoffed at the idea of a machine to trim nose hairs! It seemed like something you’d get as an add-on to your Amazon dot com order of an extra-long 24″ Rosewood-handled shoehorn (so you don’t have to bend over so much as you’re putting on your patent leather old man shoes).

But then… it gradually dawns on you. This is just part of running a mature services business! This is just the most direct way to make business development more effective.

4) It removes multiple problems that you thought you just had to live with

I’m going to spare you details here. Like a nose hair trimmer, a strong market position removes problems that might seem like a fact of life.

Clients who don’t respect you? Always dealing with a crazy learning curve on projects? Those can be dispensed with when you occupy a desirable market position.

5) How it actually works is a little bit mysterious

How the heck does a nose hair trimmer cut the right things (nose hairs) without cutting the wrong things (the delicate skin inside the nose)? I haven’t disassembled mine to figure out so the mechanism by which it produces results remains a mystery to me.

How does choosing a smaller focus turn into bigger business results?

6) It makes it easier for others to be around you, and it makes you more attractive to your mating pool (clients, in this analogy)

Why do law firms who charge $1000/hr remain in business when there are cheaper alternatives? Maybe if you’re looking at low price as a competitive advantage you could change that with a better market position for your business? Every market has room for a premium option at the top end.

7) You use it more confidently with practice

The first time I stuck my motorized nose hair trimmer into my nose I was veeeeeery cautious. Then I saw that it didn’t cut me, it didn’t hurt, and I gradually became more confident with using it.

Now I use it like it’s a scimitar cutting down the enemies of the Ottoman Empire.

With some help, you can use positioning just as powerfully to make your own business better: http://thepositioningmanual.com

Breathin’ easy over here,

Want to stop competing against every other developer?

"This is by far the most valuable email I have ever received from an email list." - Timothy Voice