My breakthrough moment at the Rockefeller Habits workshop – that you can copy now

A few weeks ago I was at the workshop Rockefeller habits. Spark Leadership of Pieter van Osch organised the event. I had a breakthrough moment during this event, hyperspecialization. This website is one of results of that.

Speaker at this workshop was Verne Harnish @thegrowthguy, founder op the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and author of the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (aff).

Verne Harnish Rockefeller Habits workshop Sep 2013 Amsterdam - Hyperspecialization

Since this summer I have a daily short phone call with Pieter, every week day. The so called Daily Huddle.
I will explain more about this in a later post.

This ‘daily huddle’ was for Pieter the reason to invite me to this workshop because it is an important element in Rockefeller Habits.

This event is for growth entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and management teams of fast growing businesses with employees and +1 million in revenue. Not really something for a professional like me that works alone.

The great thing was that I learned a lot during that day. With a few breakthrough and a-ha moments for me.

The most important learning moments were when Verne explained Hyperspecialization and Hyperfocus.

Top 7%

“Focus on the top 7% of the market”
Verne Harnish

Focus just on the top 7% of the market and leave the rest of the market for your competitors. This is the segment of the market where you will make the big bugs and where you can innovate and develop new products. Or like Seth Godin says, work on the race to the top.

This requires some difficult decisions, you need to choose as a coach. You need to choose what you will stop offering and doing. And you need to choose on what you will focus on in your communication.

Almost every day I hear and see how coaches want to help everybody. They list all the things that they CAN do. Who they CAN help. This just leaves your ideal client overwhelmed and confused.

It is not about what you CAN do and that you CAN help almost everybody. The only thing that matters is where you excel. The one person that you WILL help. How you will help your ideal client to excel with your product and coaching, through hyperspecialization and hyperfocus.

Verne gave 2 great examples that resulted in the big a-ha moment for me and made me realize that I have to do this. You will be seeing more of the results of this breakthrough the coming quarter. I need to focus on one change per quarter (every 90 days) – hyperfocus.


The two examples of hyperspecialization in Verne’s presentation:


First Winterhalter dishwashers. They produce…. yes, dishwasher. But not dishwasher for everybody. They just produce and sell dishwashers for hotels and restaurants.

For their market they go in depth and not wide. A focus strategy.

Next to dishwashers they also have water treatment equipment to purify the water. This is better for the dishwasher and more importantly for the dishes and glasses. Winterhalter also has special detergents for these dishwashers that gives the best result at high speed and for the high performance requirements in hotels and restaurants.

More importantly, in a hotel or restaurant it is a big problem when the dishwasher does not work. They will run out clean dishes and glasses fast.

A good service network and fast respons times when the dishwasher does not work, are essential to the client. So this was added to product range of Winterhalter.

Therefor there is only one real supplier in this niche, Winterhalter, and everyone in the industry knows it.

Marketing of No.1 law firm

Verne also talked about a marketing agency that focusses completely on the marketing of law firms. That is nothing special because there are lots of law firms in the USA, and even plenty of agencies that focuses on law firms.

This marketing agency focusses just on one law firm per major city and they make them the No.1 law firm in that city. They do this now in 24 cities in the USA.

A perfect lock-in, added Verne, let’s say that your firm wants to stop working with this agency. This gives the agency the opportunity to make another law firm No.1 in your city. Who wants that? No one.

Interesting post by Tim Williams in addition to Verne’s story on LinkedIn,

“what’s the top reason marketers search for a new advertising agency? If you guessed ‘creative differences,’ ‘cost’ or ‘poor service,’ you’d be citing some of the reasons that do in fact show up on top 10 lists. But the key driver today in agency searches is the desire marketers have to work with ‘best-in-class specialists.’”

Another example, CJ Advertising offers direct response lawyer advertising services just for personal injury lawyers.


“As competition increases globally you are better off to focus your expertise on as narrow a niche as you can and then follow that niche around the globe rather than try to be everything to everybody locally.”

Hyperspecialization for coaches

Maybe you feel this is only necessary, possible or applicable for larger businesses. Only they can do this.


You can must do this. Just in the Netherlands alone there are more than 40.000 coaches. You have no option. You need to specialize, hyperspecialize in such a way that there is just one option for your target audience. And that is YOU!

Your hyperspecialization

What is your specialization? Are you the only option for your target audience?
Share your niche in the comments below if you dare.

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.


  1. Certainly hyperspezialisation is a good thing to do, as long as your niche fits to you as a person too. (-> Give me work that fits to me, and I don’t have to work ever again…)
    Anyway your blog is motivational and perfectly timed at the start of a new week of working/playing in my businesses 🙂

    1. Of course Ilona. I do think that as an entrepreneur you will always choose work you love and inspire and choose the clients that are ideal for you. Even if it takes a while sometimes to conclude this.
      And whom is your ideal client?
      BTW just a few more weeks to celebrate for you 🙂

      1. Indeed, Erno, choosing work you love for the clients who are ideal for you, is what separates entrepreneurs from the wannabees. (Because It takes courage to set your own course and accept your own responsability in the way you handle your challenges.)
        Tnx, 11/6 is the official celebration-day, but I like celebrations that last a little longer;)

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