Members of Congress vote on thousands of issues every year. The issues are prominent and obscure, domestic and foreign, things everybody thinks about all the time and things almost no one in the world ever thinks about.

How do they do it?

How can they possibly cope with all those issues at the same time?

They rely on a system of expertise. Members specialize in particular areas and share their expertise when “their” issue comes up for a vote.

The advantage of being the expert, of course, is that others listen to your thoughts and perspective because they have less knowledge and information. The expert then relies on others when a new subject comes up. Choose a particular area that is crucial to what you do, and learn everything you can about it. There is no better way to ensure that you will be invaluable and that your suggestions will be respected and followed.

Fred Wilber has sold quirky and hard-to-find music out of his store in Montpelier, Vermont, for twenty-seven years. He worried that the Internet, and specifically the giant Web retailers who seemed to be able to sell everything, might spell the end of his business. So he decided to go on-line himself. Fred has neither the resources nor the inclination to do battle with the Web superstores, so he designed his Web site as an on-line version of his physical store. It features items that reflect his peculiar tastes and unmatched knowledge of movie soundtracks.

Spotlighting his own expertise is bringing in business. “You can go anywhere to buy the latest hit cd, but who is going to tell you about a great cd you’ve never heard of?

Let alone track down a copy of an out-of-print movie soundtrack of Gordy! The Little Pig that Hit it Big! I can do those kinds of things, and no one else can.”

By “focusing on our own niche, what we know best,” Fred has watched his combined in-store and on-line sales grow by over 10 percent a year and his customer base by 20 percent.

Sixty-eight percent of people who consider themselves successful say that there is at least one area of their job in which they are an expert.