What You Can Learn About Specialisation From A Koala


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Koala

You can learn some things from this guy…

It is well know in the animal kingdom there are generalist and specialist species. Generalist species are those that thrive under a wide range of conditions. Specialist species thrive under only highly specific conditions.

Koala’s diet are the epitome of specialisation in that they only eat one thing – eucalyptus leaves.

It follows: they can only exist in places which have eucalyptus trees.

The Koala has put Australia on the map. It has put generated over $1 billion for the tourism industry here in just over 10 years. It is one of our iconic animals which is known around the globe.

How has one animal been able to become a global phenomenon?

It’s highly specialised diet of one thing, has kept it to a constrained environment. In turn making it function and appear as totally unique.

Unique is worth talking about.

Most people start a business with the exact opposite thinking. Their logic is they want to appeal to the widest possible audience to give their business the best chance of success. The primary risk is not in having a business which is too narrow but in having a business which appeals to too many people.

It all starts with picking your customer.

The advantages of picking a highly specific customer is:

  • You can charge higher prices

  • Your marketing communication is easier to write

  • It is easier to find customers

  • Your conversion rate is higher

  • The market does need to be as big as you think (take 5 minutes to read: 1,000 True Fans Article. It will change the way you think about market size)

Ask yourself the following questions about who your customer is:

  • What do they talk about?

  • Who do they trust?

  • What are their greatest fears?

  • What do they love?

  • Who are they friends with?

  • Is their age relevant to your product? (for example a 20 year old male may not think about a men’s underwear product differently from a 40 year old male, but a 20 year old female may think about a fitness product differently from a 40 year old female)

  • Male of female? (if it is relevant)

  • Where do they spend the time and what do they spend their time doing?

Spend 15 minutes forcing yourself to answer these questions. And come back to it every week. You need to constantly refine who your customer is.

If your diet is unique, your business will be unique.

  • Kale

    The questions are also what people need to ask themselves before launching their product. Taking the time to know you customers saves a lot of time in the long run. Good read Jason.

    • Jason Schulz

      Couldn’t agree more Kale, you need to understand your customers. It saves time and money.

  • Adam

    Unique is worth talking about.

    This is a important line. It is what Seth Godin writes about in Purple Cow. Which is worth the read if you have not already – 2 hours reading max.

    • Jason Schulz

      Purple Cow is a great book, I also liked his book called Permission Marketing.

  • Callum

    “The primary risk is not in having a business which is too narrow but in having a business which appeals to too many people.”
    That is a great line. Good post Jason.

    • Jason Schulz

      Thanks Callum. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Callum

    Great post Jason, I think this is key for new business owners to understand. I too thought when I first started how I could sell to everyone. Once I learnt to sell to my ‘real audience’, getting customers became simple.

  • Alex

    Great post Jason, I think this is key for new business owners to understand. I too thought when I first started that I should sell to everyone. Once I learnt to sell to my ‘real audience’, getting customers became far simpler.

    • Jason Schulz

      We did too Alex! Thanks for reading.