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What we have here is a good example of service specialization

Real-world examples of service specialization, levering up from implementation to strategy work, making a service easier to sell by changing the target market and improving the messaging.

One destination that starting out with service specialization can take you is a productized service. See WorstOfAll Design (https://worstofalldesign.com/how-it-works), which delivers a very tightly scoped fixed price service to a loosely-defined audience. Another destination that starting out with service specialization can take you to is something like BlockStep: a loosely-defined, almost generalist list of services (https://blockstep.io/what-tech-platforms-does-block-step-work-on/) with a more tightly-defined audience and delivery model (White label tech implementation for agencies and expert consultants).

Both Worstofall and BlockStep are offers. They are entities that incorporate a service offering that is desirable to a very specific audience1, and their presentation and branding matches that of a standalone business. But they are each part of a '“family” of offers. This is why I say they are good examples of service specialization, rather than specialized businesses. This nuance matters because some will balk at the idea of specializing their entire business, but are open to the idea of setting up a somewhat disposable specialized offer. And in other cases, there will be a significant constraint on specializing the whole business2, but spinning up a separate brand to offer a specialized service-as-business is free from this constraint. Specializing a service can be more experimental than a whole-business specialization.

Below is my definition of service specialization from The Positioning Manual For Indie Consultants. In that book I included the Worstofall Design example and, had BlockStep existed back then, I would have wanted to include it too. Anyway, that definition:

BlockStep's founder is a friend of mine, so I know they also do strategy work for their clients. They get this strategy work by doing great implementation work, and along the way, asking strategy questions. (To be clear, strategy questions that they know they can help their client answer!) The trust they earn with the good implementation work, plus those thoughtful "what's your strategy for X?" questions levers them into strategy work.

This levering-up-from-implementation would generally not work at bigger clients; too many fenced-in turfs being protected and too many lanes you need to stay in to permit people with a bit of digital dirt on their boots from having a seat in the conference room. But at small and mid-size clients the probability that levering-up can work is better.

Here’s what Ian, BlockStep’s founder said about the service in an email to me (shared with permission):

That’s it; just wanted to share this new example of service specialization in case that’s something you’re considering.