How to Put Out Fires for Your Ideal Clients and Save the Day

Person standing in front of a fire. Photo by Adam Wilson via Unsplash.

“When everyone is running away from the fire…we run towards it.” –Red Adair

Firefighters run into burning buildings for us. These employees are rewarded with a modest hourly rate for putting their lives at risk and saving the owners of buildings a fortune.  

Fortunately, as a business owner, your rewards do not need to be capped but are based on 2 things…

  1. What you ask for, compared to other options
  2. If there are no other options (ideal), what you ask for compared to the cost of NOT fixing the problem.  

John Wayne played Red Adair in a movie. Paul Neal “Red” Adair was a firefighter too. But he didn’t work for an hourly rate. Red set up his own business and identified a highly profitable niche, fixing VERY expensive problems. Red became famous in the highly specialized and hazardous profession of extinguishing and capping oil well blowouts.  

Red understood. And today I want you to understand. If you stop dealing in the currency of design and start selling fire extinguishing services, your life will change.

Let me explain.

The traditional approach to niching is to ask, “What type of work do I like doing?” 99% of the time you’ll focus on project types – e.g. I specialise in residential, commercial, or industrial, etc. Occasionally, and might I say hardly ever, someone might focus on a people type niche e.g. we build homes for doctors or women or LGBT. Both these approaches to niching are good, but good isn't always great. There is a new SIX+MAPS way to focus on niching: problem type. And like Copernicus discovering that the world is not flat, once you see it my way, you can never unsee it. 

Because when you specialise in a specific type of problem, you start with a highly motivated client who has limited options and is ready to throw money at anyone who can put out the fire. All very good things!

“Sell the problem you solve 

not the service you offer.”

The ideal is to have a monopoly where you are the only game in town. This is almost impossible if your focus is project type like “I specialize in high end residential.” You’ll be one of a thousand “specialists.”

Imagine being the  “Red Adair of Architecture” the oil stained hero who runs towards the fire and saves the day (for a hefty and well-deserved fee of course).

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