I just came back from a holiday on the island of Ischia (Naples) and I came across two artisan-based businesses that impressed me for their product specialization. The small juice stand Enzo la Bomba (Enzo the Bomb) in Sant’Angelo (Ischia) which only serves fresh-squeezed orange or lemon juice, and the Antica Pizzeria da Michele in the city of Naples that offers its customers only two types of pizza: marinara and margherita.
I am convinced that for many small businesses, it would pay much more to have a well-defined product offering; a specialization of their products. Having a specialization – that is, limiting the number of products to just a select few, especially for small businesses – is a choice that makes you more recognizable in the huge sea of proposals in which we are submerged every day.
During my vacation I visited other eateries, but looking at the various menus I often felt disoriented. Too many dishes, wine lists several pages long, drinks and cocktails with incomprehensible names, etc. All of this makes choosing difficult. And asking the waiters for help is also not always possible as often they have neither the time nor the inclination to explain how certain dishes are prepared so that, in the end, you give up trying and end up eating the usual caprese or spaghetti with clams. And the menus! They are very often yellowed and worn by use. They certainly do not make a good impression! On the other hand, going to a place where you know they only offer two things makes life easier for you. Besides being an experience that we are no longer used to having. Margherita or marinara? Fresh-squeezed orange or lemon juice? How wonderful!
And so it is for our small businesses, especially for those who make a finished product. Offering a huge collection or a catalog with hundreds of pages often does not help the client to choose. To take this path you need 3 ingredients: a knowledge of the market in which you want to sell, an awareness of what your strengths are, and time.
I have already talked about this topic in the post Product Specialization