If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the way that most lawyers go about personal branding and business development, it would be changing the way they think about narrowing the focus of their practices. Too many lawyers equate pursuing a niche legal practice with putting a cap on their potential. They fail to appreciate that getting narrow is, in fact, the path to building a big book of business.
I get it. The idea that pursuing a more narrow market leads to bigger opportunities seems contradictory. It’s far easier to wrap your mind around the idea that casting a wider net is the way to generate more business. The problem is that the more widely you cast your net, the more generic your message must become. You become generally relevant to many, but intensely relevant to almost no one. You can’t try to be all things to all people and expect to make an impact.
Having a niche, on the other hand, allows you to communicate your value proposition to a distinct and highly targeted market. Your message can be more relevant and contextualized to your audience, and penetrate the conversation going on in the industry you’re focused on. You can become an insider who’s trusted, not an outsider who’s viewed with a skeptical eye. Of the two alternatives, what approach do you think is more conducive to business development?
Still skeptical? Just think about your own consumer behavior. When you’re searching for a product or service provider, are you looking for something or someone that can do many things fairy well, or something or someone that does one thing – the very thing you’re seeking – extraordinarily well?