Why specialization is the future of business
Are you ready to work in the evolving business landscape? A long and successful career is no longer quite as simple as acquiring a business degree and landing a job with a successful company. Specialization has quickly become the king of the business world, and that trend is only poised to continue in the future. Let’s take a look at why specialization is so important for today’s business professionals and how you can take advantage of the changing industry.
Is specialization the way to go?
By 2014, 52% of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 in 2000 had either gone out of business, gone bankrupt, or simply ceased to exist. This is a stark contrast to the longevity of companies in the past, and it highlights an increasingly turbulent landscape for businesses in all sectors. In 1958, for example, businesses listed in the S&P 500 remained in the index for 61 years, on average. By 1980, that length of time was reduced to 25 years. By 2011, the tenure had further decreased to just 18 years in the index.
In business, it’s all about staying on top of the market and dominating consumer attention. This is increasingly becoming more difficult to do as the way in which consumers acquire goods changes. From the ease of online searches for products to an increasingly global economy, buyers have more choices than ever before. This has contributed significantly to the shift in company longevity currently being seen. As savvy companies use the internet to market viral products or attract customers who might have never heard of their products or services prior to the internet and the expanded reach it brought, businesses can fall just as quickly as they rise.
With so much uncertainty in the market, how can today’s business specialists make sure that their services are useful over the course of their career? The goal is to specialize enough to ensure that your knowledge and skills are useful even when the market shifts. When you take the time to become an expert in almost any given niche, businesses in that market will need your services regardless of their tenure in the industry.
This is a change from years past, when joining a successful company was often enough to guarantee a long-term career. Today’s business professionals must be prepared to move from business to business as fortunes rise and fall, but they must also have the skills and experience needed to attract attention as they do.
This might sound complicated, but the reality is far simpler. Instead of acquiring general business knowledge, focus on niche specializations that will remain in demand regardless of which business is helming them.
Specialized sectors to consider
The world is a big place, and there are almost as many specialized sectors as there are people. It would be impossible for us to cover every single popular specialization, so we have compiled some of the safest bets as far as future stability.
. Marketing: Social media coordinator
Marketing is an enduringly important field, but the way that marketers work has changed dramatically over the past few years. The years of traditional media marketing have largely passed, at least as far as dominating the market goes. Today, much more emphasis is placed on internet-specific marketing. Social media marketing, in particular, is a sector that has seen much attention recently. A social media coordinator understands how to locate or manufacture viral stories, how to leverage brand recognition, and how to interact with consumers on a variety of different platforms, among other skills.
If you are interested in evolving your skills, social media marketing might be the perfect specialized sector.
. Agriculture: Landscape designer
Did you know that the increased fallout from climate change is impacting landscapes all around the world? To ask a more relevant question, did you know that you can have a lucrative career in landscape design as a result? If you are already working in agriculture or are interested in pursuing a career in the sector, consider looking at landscape design in particular. This is a field that will only become more important as more traditional landscaping options become more difficult to use due to adverse weather.
Other potential areas of agriculture specialization include food inspection and agronomy.
. Computer and technology: Information security analyst
Given how important personal devices are in the daily lives of millions of people around the world, it is perhaps no surprise that the computer and technology sector is one of the most lucrative to work in. Of the many careers available in this industry, information security analysis is an increasingly popular specialization. This work entails keeping track of potential security issues and fixing any holes that might allow criminals access to information that doesn’t belong to them.
Information security analysis is a good choice for individuals who are already employed in or interested in cybersecurity.
. Construction: Electrician or brick mason
Construction is an important part of modern society. While the way we live our lives and interact with the world changes dramatically over time, the way we interact with our buildings shifts somewhat less. In fact, even with smart home and business technology on the rise, the way we use electricity and construct stable buildings remains pretty similar. Specializing as an electrician or brick mason in the construction sector is a good way to ensure you have a stable position in the future.
Other specialized construction options include equipment operation and concrete labor.
. Energy: Clean energy technician
The demand for clean, renewable energy is only increasing worldwide as the impact that traditional power sources have on the environment becomes clearer. Energy professionals might consider specializing in renewable energy to safeguard their employment in the future. A wind turbine technician, for example, specializes in installing and maintaining wind turbines, while a solar energy specialist does much the same for solar energy sources.
Note that there are other specializations in the clean energy sector, but wind and solar are two of the quickest-growing energy sources around the world.
. Healthcare: Telehealth medical provider
Healthcare is another industry that is significantly impacted by the pervasiveness of technology in our daily lives. Instead of requiring a trip to see a doctor in person, many providers are now offering telehealth services. This kind of care allows patients to speak with a doctor via phone or video to assess common ailments and prescribe treatment. COVID-19 hastened this shift, with providers being forced to adjust to online care whether they wanted to provide this type of care or not. Care providers who have the inclination to specialize can take advantage of a quickly-growing field with abundant opportunities and the ability to care for patients remotely.
Note that the sector needs registered nurses, physicians, and nurse practitioners, among others; you do not have to be a doctor to specialize.
. Media and news: Social media specialist
The way news is spread and consumed has changed rather significantly over the past few decades. Today, people do not have to wait until a physical newspaper is released to catch breaking news. All they have to do is log on to Twitter or Facebook to see what the latest information says. From active crimes to political announcements and everything in between, social media is the modern harbinger of need-to-know news around the world. Specializing in social media news analysis is a great way to evolve your skills and render yourself invaluable to traditional media news channels.
Four benefits of specialization
Beyond the broader benefits described above, specialization can help your career in business in a few different ways. Here are four reasons to consider specializing your skills.
1. More valuable knowledge
Almost all knowledge is valuable, but some information is more lucrative than other types of information. Specialization allows you to offer your niche a better value proposition than professionals who are focused on more general knowledge. You become an expert in your field with an innate understanding of the sector and everything you can do to help the businesses within it grow. Unless you have chosen a dying sector, that is the kind of value that will only become more important in the future.
2. Less information to synthesize
This might sound a bit odd given how much information you need to understand in order to be considered an expert in your field, but specialization actually cuts down on what you need to keep tabs on in the future. In many cases, you can focus on the specifics of your sector rather than worrying about general business practices, which means that all you have to worry about is staying on top of any specific changes in the field. Specializing is still hard work, of course, but it can streamline the “upkeep” you perform in the long run.
3. Stronger authority
When you are looking for help, do you seek someone with detailed knowledge of the issue or someone with a basic understanding of the field? When you have a cold, for example, seeing a family doctor is often all you need to do. When you have nerve damage in your foot, on the other hand, you are likely looking for physicians with specialized understanding of nerves in the feet. Specializing your skills makes you someone with an understanding of even the most complex issues surrounding a given niche. This, in turn, grants you stronger authority in the field.
4. More successful networking
Because professionals with general business knowledge are plentiful, there are many of them who can do a job well. This makes networking a bit difficult since there is always competition. Why work with someone new when you can keep services in-house with more or less the same result? Specialization, on the other hand, gives you the valuable authority described above. This gives you much more power in networking thanks to the detailed understanding you possess of the sector in question.
How can I specialize my skills?
There are a few different options for expanding your knowledge and specializing your skills. The first is by learning more about online business essentials through an online course such as the Master’s of Business Administration available at Suffolk University, based in Boston, Massachusetts. This equips you with the fundamentals of marketing, accounting, finance and operations as well as readying you for an increasingly digital business landscape. The importance of the internet to today’s businesses (and business leaders) should not be overlooked, especially as it is poised to continue growing as even more people gain easy access to the network.
Pick an accredited educator with a proven history of producing successful, savvy graduates with the knowledge they need to thrive in the shifting business landscape and brush up on skills. Suffolk University has long been a fixture in the heart of Boston, and their experience with business students over the years has proven their dedication to providing a world-class education.
Beyond taking a formal educational course, hands-on experience in the field is a good complement to foundational knowledge. Take some time to consider which specialization works best for your interests and talents, then start researching what is going on in the market. The key is to understand the sector to predict the way the market moves and best understand what the specialized businesses within it need to thrive.
If you are interested in specializing your skills, these tips will give you an edge.