Specializing in multiple niches?

Architecture business niche

“What do you think about specializing in more than one area?”

-Erick Mikiten, Berkeley, California, USA

Good question, Erick. The answer is: “it depends.”

Before I prescribe, I better do a little diagnosis.

Firstly, do you have a reason for wanting to become a specialist in multiple areas? Maybe you'd be bored doing just one type of project. Many architects like the challenge and variety – this is a valid reason.

Secondly, do you think you can fight on multiple fronts? Two areas require two specialist marketing campaigns – not hard, but if you find one a struggle then two might dilute your resources and focus. If you chase two rabbits you end up catching none. Having said that, just because it is a saying does not mean it is true, you may end up catching two.

Thirdly, how big do you think your first choice market is? Is it big enough for you to specialize in one area or do you need a second to keep you busy? Smaller towns require a more generalist approach.

Fourthly, are you sure you know the area you want to specialize in yet? Maybe you are not sure – in which case test a few different Monkey's Fists and LCC's in each specialist area. See which of the sub-markets responds best. Let the market tell you.

Ultimately your specialist area will depend on how much demand there is for a specialist in that area and how much passion you have for that niche.

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