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Screen Doors Keep Us Too Busy

By Joey Havens

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I was really excited about my schedule as I headed into the office for the day. I had two meetings with team members—one to collaborate on a new client opportunity and the other to develop a strategy to help us execute at a faster pace on changing our client experience to be more focused, anticipatory and consistent.

Thoughts and strategies were swirling around in my mind as a white van pulled up beside me. In big letters on the side was the business name and what they did.



Specialize in all types of paint

No job too small or too large

Trust your painting to us

Call us for a quote

Okay, yes, I laughed for a minute. Yet, in our reality, it’s not funny. How much do our websites resemble this advertising? How reflective is our client lists of “no job is too small or large?” What does our list of industry specialization look like? Do we have an exhaustive list of services that we specialize in? Do we talk about how we are trusted advisors?

Have we become generalists with limited industry expertise because we specialize in too many things?

What about our client acceptance? Reviewing the new clients and new projects over the last 12 months, how much of the Smith Brothers marketing strategy is at work in our business model?


  • One-off type businesses/industries
  • One-off services
  • Clients too small to leverage
  • Projects too small to leverage

Today, if our websites and client acceptance work as the Smith Brothers advertising, we might be putting a screen door on a submarine in a time when we need to take a deep dive into being relevant. 

We are at a defining moment in our profession where we will only benefit from the abundant opportunities in front of us if we are willing to say no to the jobs that, although profitable in the short-term, do not build long-term value nor relevance in our firm and for our clients.

How often do we deploy our best resource on clients and projects that will never achieve critical mass or become leverageable? Hope is not a strategy and screen doors may sink our ship.