11 May

One function

If I have a watch that;

Is waterproof to a depth of 1,000 metres.

Gives me the date.

Is made of material which lasts a lifetime.

Never needs batteries changed.

Has a GPS function.

… but can’t tell the time properly, then it’s useless.

All of the other functions (bar keeping the time) are add-ons.


Likewise, I could have a phone that;

Runs apps.

Holds all of my music.

Can access the internet.

Has ‘Facetime’.

Has voice recognition software.

… but if it can’t make phone calls, it’s pointless.


If you haven’t mastered one key skill yet (or you simply don’t have one), in your business, then that business is simply a set of add-ons with no particular purpose.

I see so many freelancers and start-ups doing this; ‘I’m a photographer / proofreader / accountant / social media manager / business coach’.
I also see established businesses suddenly diversifying, covering a whole host of services outside of their key offering, to the point where they dilute that key offering.

The problem is, if you don’t know what your key service is, then – as a potential client looking at you – how do you expect me to know? I certainly haven’t got time to guess.
… and if I think you’re a generalist, with ‘a bit of knowledge of everything’, then I’ll just go to a specialist for each of the individual services you offer.
Ultimately, if I want proper directions while driving, I’ll buy a proper sat nav rather than using my phone’s add-on sat nav function.

To turn the gun on myself, you don’t have to complicate matters: it’s entirely possible to offer a key service and have your add-ons directly related to it.
My key skill is writing, which I stick to, but…. 

I can write across any media channel; DM, press, poster, radio, TV, viral video, websites, blogs, landing pages, emails, brochures, ambient media.

I can switch between dozens of different tones of voice; flippant, to sombre, to impassioned, to angry… I can write in a way whereby friends wouldn’t even recognise it’s me who’s written something.

I can switch between literal writing and conceptual/visual copywriting.

I can scamp up ideas for videographers, web designers, illustrators etc.

I can present to anyone – from two business owners, to a room full of stakeholders and fellow professionals.

…but, I can still do the basics: writing.


Master one skill first, then offer other services, otherwise you’re simply a watch that can’t tell the time properly, and – ultimately – no-one needs that.

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