I used to think there was an ebook or a course online for absolutely everything. Want to learn Lightroom for Digital Scrapbooking? There’s a course for that. Dying to make Asian-Style Dumplings from Scratch? You can buy a course on that too.
Everything is available online, right? I thought so, until I started looking for resources on how to specialize my web agency.
After many hours searching around on this topic, I still haven’t landed on an expert who teaches just about finding a niche for website design/development services. BUT—I did come across someone who comes close, whose expertise does apply to web firms.
His name is Philip Morgan, and he’s the author of The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms.
I’ve been following Philip for a while, and I recently took the plunge to buy his book and the accompanying resources. Here’s what I thought after reading the book.
My Review of The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms by Philip Morgan
The book is best suited for someone just starting to consider positioning a software development firm or web agency.
Philip covers in-depth the problems of being a generalist, as well as different ways to specialize that can help a firm to own a specific position in the minds of customers.
He also explains exactly what positioning is and discusses why it’s so difficult for so many business owners to take on.
The biggest part of the book explains his three positioning strategies: Narrow Focus, Category Leadership, and Category Pioneer.
- The best brand positioning involves focusing on solving an expensive problem for a specific client
- There is a specificity value curve, where the value offered increases as you become more specific but levels off or decreases if you get too specific
- “The best time to correctly position your business is a year ago. You would be benefitting from that positioning work in dramatic ways now. The second best time to correctly position your business is now.”
“The biggest obstacle to finding a desirable market position is not a crowded market place or strong competition. It’s the fears that naturally arise during the process.”
The Why But Not the How
Although the information in the book was really interesting, I finished it a little disappointed.
Aside from 7 tiny pages about “Selecting the Right Strategy for Your Business,” the book focused almost entirely on “Why” you should position your business, instead of “How.”
As someone who is already fully committed to finding the right specialty, I closed the e-book with a ton of questions.
Ok, I’m totally on board, but…
- How do I choose the right specialty?
- How do I vet opportunities and determine what is best for us?
- How can I be sure there are enough clients out there for this specialty?
- What are the red flags of an unsuccessful brand position?
- How do I make the transition in my messaging?
I was honestly pretty disappointed that the book didn’t answer my most scary, burning questions.
But Wait—Don’t Miss the Extra Resources
That is… until I started opening the Bonus PDFs.
I am so thankful that I purchased the Book Bundle, which includes several PDF guides:
- TPM Market Research Handbook
- TPM Marketing Implementation Handbook
- TPM Personal-Company Assessment Handbook
- TPM Positioning Troubleshooting Guide
- TPM Additional Interviews
Gold. Finally. This was the step-by-step guidance I was looking for.
I haven’t gone through all of them yet, but I am loving the Personal-Company Assessment Handbook. It includes a spreadsheet and process for looking at your company and your past work to identify possible specialties.
My Recommendation Regarding The Positioning Manual
If you’re at all interested in specializing your web agency, buy this book with the complete bundle of handbooks and guides. I think it was $99 when I bought it.
You’ll get the basic advice around specializing in the book and then put it to work using the extras.