The Middle Kinda Stinks


You can be an operationally-excellent, dependable producer of lower-priced, similar products or services. You sell commodities, but you can sell them relationally and build trust and credibility into your business model. Your product, however, is similar. The thing people are buying is relatively homogenous. In fact, your margins and your success depend upon your consistency.

… or …

You can be a Saville Row tailor. You make one-of-a-kind, custom objects of desire. Part of the reason people buy you and your products is because they’re not like anyone else’s. You’re rare. You also have to sell relationally and build trust and credibility into your business model.

I’m pretty sure both can work really, really well. 

I’m pretty certain you can sell to the classes or the masses, and you’ll be just fine, as long as you make the conscious choice to do one or the other very, very well.

Do one or the other or both but do them very, very well. 

(I’m pretty sure the same company can do both as long as you make a mile-wide and conscious differentiation between the two offerings.)

It’s when you muddle in the middle that you get squished like grape.

Whether that’s you not knowing how to make your lower-priced, lower-margined stuff more systematic.

Or whether you’re a wildly creative and talented flake.

Or whether you aren’t making a conscious choice toward one market or the other.

You have to put your hands together – like you’re praying – and push them outward away from one another.

Clear away the middle. Stay away from the middle.

The good news? So many companies are fighting for (and shrinking the margins in) the middle. Because it requires less planning and proactivity. It’s always going to be there. That’s not a good reason to go after it.

Make a conscious choice toward one end or the other.

Just don’t muddle in the middle.

Because, there, in the middle?

Squish … like grape.

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As CEO and Head Custodian of Miles & Company, Tim Miles helps owner-operated companies do more with less. He's the author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It & Being It.

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