One of my clients is looking into launching a specialized job site, in a space that seems to have been overlooked. One thing he’s wrestling with is whether to A) Start small, dominate one niche, and expand, or to B) Go after something a bit bigger right from the start.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs flame out with option B. They spend months raising capital, building fancy tech, and launching major marketing campaigns, only to find out that the dogs don’t want to eat the dog food they’re serving.
Instead, I usually vote for option A. Seth Godin does a great job of explaining why here:
“Envision the events that might happen to a brand (shelf space at Walmart, an appearance on Oprah, a bestseller, worldwide recognition, a new edition, worldwide rights, chosen by the Queen, whatever) as a series of dominos.
It turns out that if you start with all of them at once, you’ll fail. And if you start with the big one, you’ll fail.
But if you line up all the dominos one by one, in the right order, you may just have enough energy to push over the first one. That one, of course, adds momentum so that when you crash into the second one, that one goes too. All the way to the Queen.
Wait! Isn’t this obvious? Sure it is. So why is it so often ignored?
Brands get stuck constantly. And they always get stuck circling the big domino. They try to launch worldwide and beat Google. They try to get an endorsement from the Prince of Denmark. They try to break out with a feature on a major blog. They try to act like Coca Cola from the first day. And they try and they try and they try until they get so frustrated, they quit.
A few brands pick out tiny dominos instead. And topple them. And they do it again. They do it so often they create noise, momentum and most important, a sense of inevitability. That’s how you win.”