We tend to think of our very successful “giants of marketing” as being infallible. In fact, we want to believe in our idols. We listen to what they say to emulate them in business and maybe even in their personal pursuits. But they do make mistakes and will tell you that those have been their most productive experiences.

Damon John was recently interviewed and reflected on his misses. This prince of the hip-hop clothing industry went down a couple of losing roads for pretty much the same reason – he veered from his core competency. He nods to his skill as a great marketer, but tried guiding design with two of his investments to an almost disastrous result.

“Scale what you already have and are doing well with, he admonishes.” Too many companies try to diversify their product line or service in an effort to grab a new market. Smart on the surface, but that means you’re actually starting another company from scratch. Can you afford that? Are you good at that? Do you have a good marketing story to tell?

Okay, so it’s counter intuitive to stay in your lane. We want to use our success to be king or queen of the next hill. Mr. John’s wisdom would be to find new customers and market the core competency you know well.