Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

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Specializing In FileMaker: Yes, It Does Make Sense

Last month I wrote a blog post titled, “Specializing In FileMaker: Does It Make Sense?” In it, I talked about the importance of specialization. Here’s a follow-up.

FileMaker Is Not Like A Hammer

I promoted the original post on Twitter by tweeting, “Saying that you specialize in FileMaker is like saying that you specialize in hammers.”

Some saw the tweet and apparently thought I was saying that “FileMaker is like a hammer.”

I've been using FileMaker for over 20 years now, and I'm fully aware that it is not a single-purpose tool. Instead, FileMaker is a robust, powerful, and flexible database platform, and you can do a heck of a lot with it.

Anyway, back to the post...

It’s All About Positioning

The point of the post, and what I was contemplating when I wrote it, is whether or not I should position myself as a FileMaker expert, or more generally as a developer of custom database solutions.

Jonathan Stark clearly understood what I was struggling with. He wrote a very thoughtful and helpful reply in which he asked, “Is it enough to specialize in a discipline (e.g., “I do FileMaker development”, “I make WordPress themes”, “I optimize Shopify sites”) or is that too vague to attract new business?”

The question isn’t whether or not I should specialize in FileMaker. Instead, the question is whether or not I should position myself as a FileMaker specialist.

I’ve given this a lot of thought, and the conclusion that I’ve reached is: Yes, I should position myself as a FileMaker specialist.

Here’s why…

Prospects Come To Me

By positioning myself as a FileMaker consultant, it is much easier for potential clients to find me.

And I mean exactly that. They find me.

I don’t have to go looking for potential clients, because they come looking for me.

As a result, I have never needed to advertise. This allows me to put my time and money to much better use.

But that's not all.

Prospects Are Pre-Sold on FileMaker

The prospects that come to me are already familiar with - and you could even say “sold on” - the FileMaker platform. So I don't have to convince them that FileMaker is a good fit. They have either already reached that conclusion, or they are close to reaching it.

So highly qualified prospects are coming to me, and they're already convinced that FileMaker is a good fit. That’s a beautiful thing.

The Alternative

If I were to position myself as a more generic “database consultant” or “database developer,” then I believe things would be very different.

I would need to seek out prospective clients, most likely through networking (which I'm not terribly fond of) and advertising (which I have serious doubts about). And, after finding them, I would have to spend time educating them about FileMaker, convincing them that it’s a good fit, and so on. I don’t have the time or patience to go through all of that.

And thankfully, I don't need to.

Next Steps

So the decision to continue positioning myself as a FileMaker consultant was easy to make. Now I’m taking steps to position myself correctly and consistently.

I’ve updated my business Web site so that this positioning is very clear. Every page of the site focuses on FileMaker. It includes information about my FileMaker experience, the clients that I’ve provided FileMaker services to, the services that I offer, and so on.

My personal site, while not entirely focused on FileMaker, does make it clear that FileMaker is a big part of the work that I do. I mention and link to my business site, my FileMaker book, etc.

Would This Approach Work For You?

Would positioning yourself as a FileMaker consultant work for you? I can’t answer that question. But I can tell you that it works for me.

I’d love to hear how you position yourself or your business. Please leave a comment below, and let’s get a conversation going.