Do you work with more businesses (in a relatively shallow way) or fewer but in a more intense way?

Scuba Diver

As a business coach and mentor I’m asked frequently asked the following question:

Is it better to work with more clients (in a relatively shallow way) or is it better to work with fewer but in a more intense way (and therefore more long-term benefit)?

So what is my answer? Well when working in certain countries I feel sure that the broad but shallow effect doesn’t really work; my preference is to work longer and deeper with fewer businesses– by handing over the tools they need, I can see more benefit and by creating ‘champions’ I see the legacy of locally-owned and adapted toolkits being used.

But does this theory (better to go narrow and deep rather than broad and shallow) hold true in the UK?

Applied to your own business (and specifically to your marketing) is it better to narrow your focus and look for deep knowledge in a niche field or is it better to go broader and more shallow?

Case Study One: A business coach who only sells to dentists and charges four times the going rate because of their narrow focus/niche expertise.

Case Study Two: A ‘tart with a heart’ business who sells anything to anyone and make sales but gets known for what they do: A ‘jack of all trades’… Gets lots of work but at low rates. The client says “Jump!” they say “How high?”

To leave you with a couple of questions: Do you have the bottle to go narrower and deeper in your niche or did the recession make you more of a tart? How do you think this is perceived in the marketplace?

Would love to know your thoughts!