There’s nothing wrong with specialization. I know waaay too many consultants whose answer to all requests is “Yeah, I can do that!” followed by “How did you spell that?”. The issue there is that the specialist can help the customer solve their problem/fill their need (that’s where partnerships come in nicely).There’s nothing wrong with generalization. I know waaay too many consultants whose mantra is “If your favorite tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In this case, it’s important to recognize technologies that will add benefit to your dealings with your primary customers.

Last week we spoke with a potential client whose need, in addition to network/infrastructure, was a CRM project. I’ve done CRM projects, but on a larger scale. And it’s not where I want my group to go. So I offer to sit down with another Partner in the area whose specialty is CRM.

This week we’re talking to another potential client. A couple people in his organization have Blackberry devices. I’ve done one Enterprise migration (part of an Exchange project, actually), but that’s it. But again, not on this scale. But I realize that my group needs to handle Blackberry devices. So I offer to take those on as part of the project, no additional charge, realizing that I might live to regret that. And I tell that to the client, straight up.

To say one strategy is better than the other assumes that the goals of the strategies are the same. I’ve worn the CIO hat, the independent consultant hat, the CEO hat, and most hats in between. Each has their own strategies, goals, and real pains in the butt. My rule is “say what you mean what you say.”