As I talk in-depth to small business people (including consultants), I am seeing a pattern over and over again. I think it may actually be endemic for most professionals. Let’s call it business fragmentation.
What do I mean? Well, over time, perhaps our offerings have become more diverse or less focused (sometimes in response to a rapidly-evolving marketplace), and our identity and messages get muddled. Soon, customers are really not sure what we do anymore – instead of being the default “go-to” for some very specific service or product, we’re…a supplier of something-or-other, broadly speaking.
And, in fact, this fragmentation actually does lead us into the habit of broadly speaking – instead of having a precise focus and message. Like a hard drive with too much accumulated data, our messaging becomes scattered and inefficient. Hence, the need for regular de-fragmentation.
I see this in larger settings as well, such as pharmaceutical training departments. Courses, programs, workshops – they get added over time to address specific needs, and where once there may have been a strategically-designed curriculum, now there is accretion leading to fragmentation – particularly in a fast-evolving setting.
Fragmentation is even common among individuals – people who reach a point in their career where they’ve done a bunch of things, but are no longer clear on what their true core competencies and their ideal direction really are. Personal/professional fragmentation can lead to a sense of being in a professional fog.
Just as computer maintenance involves regular de-fragmentation, so optimal professional/business maintenance should include the same. “Scattered” is never a strategic advantage!
Have you experienced this? What have you done to de-fragment your business and get back to a clear focus?