At the recent Real Estate Staging Association national conference, one of the best ideas I heard came from David Avrin, author of 'It's not who you know - it's who knows you."
David said 'The economy celebrates specialists and quickly forgets generalists.'
In my personal business career in both real estate, home staging and franchising, I have always seen companies and free agents take control of a niche and capitalize on being the go-to person or service for that niche. Once you sieze a niche and provide great service, you become unstoppable. I beleive this is the key to a successful business and I have always sought to position my companies in a niche and have found that David's advice holds true.
My current company, Showhomes, is a nationally franchised home staging company with over 60 locations. I teach our people to say we are a niche business up front: we provide staging for larger, more expensive vacant homes that have already been on the market for some time and we target homeowners who are distressed and not in a position to hire a traditional home stager. Because of this, we rarely come into contact with other home stagers and almost never compete head to head with them. We provide an alternative method of staging for these homeowners that allows them to pay for staging on the back end rather than up front and it has been highly successful. Our niche is small but we own it.
I see others in the home staging business grappling with what their niche is or should be. My friend in Sacramento, Lori Polk, a home stager I admire, has been focusing on small to large investment groups who buy groups of homes at auctions. She has a specific staging product for these homes and has figured out a team approach that helps this very specific type of seller. What she is doing for her investors might not work for many other clients but it is working really well for her niche. She was one of the few home stagers I met who was not complaining about the market and really optimistic about the year ahead.
My friend and highly experienced stager Gary Barnett focuses on smaller vacant homes in Indianapolis. He has a type of staging product that is not very expensive and produces a good sales result. While it is much different than the staging we do on our homes, it services his niche really well and allowed him to stage over 100 homes in his market last year.He owns his niche and would be very difficult to compete with.
I know a lot of Realtors and the successful ones always have a niche. Sometimes it is an area or subdivision. Sometimes it is a type of listing such as condos. It can even be on the buyer side working with a certain type of buyer. They are successful simply because they focus on a niche and as David said - the economy celebrates specialists.
Do you service a niche? Are you a specialist or a generalist?
www.showhomes.com - a home staging business with a twist
we're expanding: www.showhomesfranchise.com