In his watershed book, "Good To Great," Jim Collins tells the parable of the Fox and the Hedgehog.
The Fox runs from place to place, snuffling about for food. He stirs up game, sprints after it, attacks. His life is the constant pursuit of the NEXT meal; he doesn't differentiate. The other animals fear his speed, and his palate - he doesn't care WHAT he eats. When he sees prey, he attacks, darting like an orange-red missile. He's unsuccessful often, but most days, he eats. He can run fast; he can lie in wait; he can follow a trail; he can evade predators.
The Hedgehog knows one trick: roll into a ball. But he knows it REALLY well. So well, in fact, that the Fox can rarely penetrate the hedgehog's quills.
Walgreen's has risen to prominence doing the Hedgehog trick: they've shut down most of their food counters, even though they were profitable. They've built smaller stores, with fewer items, on more corners. They've changed their focus to dollars spent PER sale, instead of dollars earned per STORE. They're doing fewer things, and exploding.
Starbucks, too, has been a good example of the Hedgehog: they make really good coffee, with really good people, and they do it on more streetcorners than anyone else.
Following Collins' argument, then, the way to beat a Google is to get really, really good at delivering email...and nothing else (you listening, Yahoo!?) For our purposes, the way to carve your niche is to do one part better than ANYONE.
Before we go further, you should know this: I'm guilty. I get excited about new things, and pursue them with single-minded focus. I'm a sinner, mister, and I've got the novelty hangover to prove it. Also, a cluttered website.
After I wrote the post about Colouring By Numbers, I had a meeting with several of our coaches to talk about the Ignite! program. We're being bombarded with requests for service: one insurance company would like a special program and rate for its clients suffering from Anxiety; another would like a work-hardening program. Some Occupational Therapists are ready and waiting to develop our post-concussion therapy, while an oncologist is calling every week to ask when our post-chemotherapy service will be starting. Each week, we receive emails asking when CrossFit coaches can take the Ignite! courses online. Yesterday, one client asked if we could develop a program to help executives at his company focus and be more productive. Barnes & Noble is having trouble publishing our ebook because of its formatting; parents call us daily to sign their kids up for Enrichment programs, and we're getting booked for more school visits all the time. Insurance companies from other cities are calling to ask for Ignite! Academies in their locale. Meanwhile, we have our anti-aggression seminars to put together, CrossFit affiliates to visit, and - oh, right - our regular Ignite! clientele. That's one department in our company. ONE of several.
Doing the colours chart helped us focus on three priorities, starting January 1, and we'll put the rest on hold. We're spread too thin. Our priorities will be delivery of Ignite! to more ABI (acute brain injury) clients, delivery of the Ignite! Certifications, and focusing on building up our own local Ignite! Academy's programming. The rest will have to wait - even though they may already be paying, or have the potential to do so. It's hedgehog time.
For your CrossFit Box, find your Bright Spots, curl into a ball, and make them the best in town. Better to be excellent at one or two than to be mediocre at everything.