Know the expertise you can offer
To identify what expertise you can offer, start with your most recent Resume (CV) to take an inventory of your skills, experiences and accomplishments.
Follow the steps on the flowchart below to record the results on a spreadsheet:
1. Identify depth of your Knowledge
We all have knowledge, called ‘know-how’. It is an understanding of facts, symbols, ideas, stories and observations – acquired through visualization and listening to answers to questions.
- If you concentrate in-depth on one knowledge-area, then you are a Specialist (like a computer programmer). However, a Specialist cannot have knowledge in everything!
- If you have a general or broad understanding of multiple knowledge-areas you are a Generalist.
- Very few people have a combination of both – but those who do are very successful.
- Spreadsheet: List your current level of knowledge (fair, good, experienced) in specialized areas such as Technology, Business, Finance, Marketing, Sales, Operations and Change Management, etc. Include on-going professional development courses and the latest methods and developments to show that you are current in relevant and modern techniques.
2. Identify your Skills
Being knowledgeable is not just one quality, but is many – spanning learning, experiencing and understanding.
Knowledge is derived from ‘information’ and forms the foundation on which skills are built. (Example: If you understand the English alphabet and apply the rules of spelling you will learn to ‘read’ English words). Reading is a skill. If you have an interest in 19th century history and use the reading skill over an extended period to research and understand various history documents, you will gain experience in 19th century history. Keep this up and within 10-20 years you will be known as a 19th century ‘expert’.
What you get paid for is your ‘expertise’ – how much you can demand depends on what benefits the prospects perceive as making their lives better.
- A skill is an ability to perform an activity in a competent repetitive manner. Some skills such as speaking, reading, analysing, problem solving and communicating are transferrable between jobs. Some skills are job specific like Accounting skills, while others are transferrable from job-to-job such as writing or problem solving.
- Skills are classified as follows:
- Hard skills – focus on creative thinking that are rooted in academic studies; Digital Skills focus on knowing how to use technology to express ideas, read wide audience and engage with diverse people from around the world through camera, audio, video and editing software; communicating virtually through podcasts, webinar, YouTube videos, and online courses.
- Professional skills – focus on on-the-job training such as procedures, and information necessary to perform a particular task or special technical training.
- Behavioural skills – are cultural and are learned from parents, peers, teachers and life experiences. Also called ‘soft skills’.
- Spreadsheet: List your skills to highlight your current strengths and weaknesses.
3. List the Roles you held in previous positions
- Spreadsheet: List the specific roles performed in positions you held. Describe each role in about 3-4 sentences, noting ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’. A role is defines your position in an organization (Example: HR Manager).
4. List the Responsibilities you held in the roles
- Spreadsheet: Every role has primary and secondary responsibilities – list them for each role. There may be multiple responsibilities in a role (Example: hiring staff, facilitating staff meetings).
5. List the Tasks you performed – and the skills used
- Spreadsheet: List the tasks assigned to perform the responsibilities. A task is the smallest unit of work assigned with a start and end date.
Include the skills used to execute the various tasks in managing roles and responsibilities. (Example: setting up Meeting agenda, inviting attendees).
Match each task to your related knowledge, skill and ability and summarize the skills by task.
6. Analyse your Work History
Think back to examples of problems solved, analytical abilities, action taken, and the results.
- What did you accomplish that benefited your employers – did you lead them in saving money, making money, or saving time?
- What steps did you take to accomplish the result?
- What did you learn?
7. Confirm your area of Specialization
What did you enjoy doing – Analysis, Problem-Solving, or Teaching?
- Be clear in your understanding of what you can offer as this is your expertise.
- What specific problem or opportunity will your expertise address – strategy, finance, operations, sales and marketing, technology, change management or something else?
If you are considering the category of consulting you would be interested in pursuing, then go find a market that needs consultants to see if there is a demand for what you have to offer.
8. Package your specialized offer into something ‘tangible’
Your specialization is useless if it does not offer value that is trending and someone is willing to pay for it.
Use your ‘specialization’ as a springboard to build a ‘tangible’ product that customer can understand.
For example, the trend shows that customers are looking for Eco-Friendly experts to review their internal green policies and procedures. If you specialized in reviewing regulations and legislation for particular industries, you will want to package your expertise into something that the customer can readily understand. The best way to package the ‘intangible’ into tangibles is to break it into different deliverables or service levels, or deliver the whole package as a workshop or seminar, ensuring that you demonstrate how it differentiates you from the competition.
Note that your previous job does not have to be the origin of where you get a brilliant idea for marketing your knowledge, but it will identify your skills and strengths.
IDENTIFY THE TARGET CUSTOMER
|Industry Sector||Start by selecting trends of the industry (example Finance) and the industry sectors (example asset management, life insurance) you are familiar with. Research official marketing and business publications to see trends in the industry sectors you have selected.|
|Separate the industry sectors into ‘groups’ such as business or government. How you segment the customer depends on whether you are marketing your product or service to a business or to consumers.
This customer segmentation helps you to understand the different types of customers your industry serves. Each customer in the segments has different needs so treat each group separately
|If you are marketing to consumer markets, you could create separate groups by location, demographics, attitudes and lifestyles, and buying behaviour.
Identify the primary market, secondary market and a niche market – which is a smaller market that might have been overlooked by your competitors.
Be prepared to customize your product and services for each segment as you aim your marketing at a particular group.
|Look for commonality across customer segments (like buying patterns, problems, needs and values) and select segments to survey.
Prepare a survey which provides answers to questions about their buying habits such as – what they value most, how much they pay for a product/service similar to yours, how much would they be willing to pay, does it satisfy their need; how do they receive the product/service, which is the preferred method, what is the communication relationship they have with the business; and what are their likes/dislikes of your product/service.
|Competitor analysis||Compare every aspect of competitor’s sales and marketing (their customers, their brand, price, convenience of location, sales channels, and so on).
Your competitive edge depends on how you compare to your competitors for each of your customer segments – are you the fastest, do you have the best customer service, are you the third most popular, and so on.
|From the completed surveys select a sample number of customers to target (for a small market use 100-200). Decide on the method of contacting them – online, face-to-face, telephone, etc. Target those that have money to buy your product or service!|
|Build customer profile||Build a Customer Profile that includes: Market Location, demographics, lifestyle, customer-value, Needs to be satisfied, Problems to be solved.|
|Does your offer (product or service) match customer need||If there is no need, there is no problem to be solved|
KNOW YOUR COMPETITORS
Knowing who your competitors are, what they are offering, and how much of the market share they command can help you to take appropriate action and stand out among them.
To get a better understanding of the market analysis that is required, refer to