Choose a Business Niche
More doesn’t always equate to better. This is especially true with your accounting practice. We commonly believe it’s important to serve a wide variety of clients and to offer a vast range of services. This approach; however, spreads your resources too thin.
What appeals to some clients will turn off others. Although you may try, you’re unable to be all things to all people. Not only does this dilute your service; it’s draining.
Like most practices, I didn’t start out with a traditional niche business. Instead, I focused on the psychographics. My ideal client shared specific qualities and characteristics. Over the years, I narrowed down to accounting professionals.
Developing a specialty took even longer. Although I had a very specific niche when I co-owned my counseling agency with Steve, my current specialty wasn’t immediately obvious to me. And when I look back, it was there all along. I simply couldn’t recognize that.
The old adage stating less is more applies to your practice. Like most accounting professionals, you excel at a select few things. Go ahead and start out as a generalist. You’ll gain insight about your ideal client and their needs. Eventually you’ll get to a point where you decide to cherry-pick your clients.
Basically, a business niche highlights the services you do best. It’s very client attractive. Even Richard Branson focused the first thirteen years on the music industry before Virgin ventured into other areas.
Here’s why you’ll benefit from a business niche:
1. Better Client Experience
Specialists are more attractive than generalists. I may save some money up front with a generalist. But, I often pay more in the long run. Either, it takes more time to solve the problem. Or, the generalist made things even worse and now I need to hire a specialist to undo everything.
Yes, specialists charge higher fees for their services. On the other hand, the client experience is usually superior. Not only am I investing in a solution, I’m confident that they’ll deliver on their promises. Overall, specialists save time and reduce frustration.
2. Expert Status
Focus your passion and attention on your strengths. A business niche positions you as an expert. Clients seek you out because of your in-depth knowledge and experience. Competing for business is no longer necessary.A niche positions your #accounting firm as experts. When you differentiate, then competing for business is no longer necessary. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
One of the accounting firms I worked with didn’t want to compete for services. Similar to other firms, she offers bookkeeping and taxes services. We discussed how a niche strategy works. As we reviewed her client list, she realized several of her favorite clients are attorneys. Plus, only a select few accounting firms specialize in attorneys.
As she worked with legal practices, her knowledge about the legal field grew beyond accounting. This positions her as a high- value resource for her clients. Those busy attorneys reach out to her, even when they need something that’s not directly related to taxes. When that occurs, she refers them to a vetted resource within her network.
Attorneys, like many other professions, are a close knit group. Because of her insights and network, her client referrals have skyrocketed.
3. High Profit
Yes, a niche takes awhile to develop. However, it’s highly lucrative. Specialists charge higher fees than generalists. Rather than trading dollars for hours, your fees reflect your value.
Value pricing benefits you and your clients. That’s because clients pay you for a solution rather than time. As you gain expertise, you naturally become faster at solving your client’s specific problem. Value pricing, unlike an hourly rate, doesn’t penalize speed and efficiency. In fact, your clients actually appreciate your ability to quickly solve their problems.
As a specialist, you set the rules about how you work, when you work and who you work with.
4. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
The best referrals are client referrals. When you excel at your service, your clients brag about you to their peers. By the time a client referral reaches out to you, they’re ready to engage your services.
When I’m looking for a service provider, I’m not going to the phone book. In fact, I no longer own a phone book. Either I ask the people I trust who are in my network or I ask for a referral on Facebook.
But don’t stop there. That’s because you’ll miss out on an entire source of hot referrals.
Let me explain this advanced move. It’s common belief that the people in your inner circle, known as strong links, will give you the most referrals. Research reveals that’s not true.
Don’t overlook your weakest links. These are the people who you occasionally connect with. Although it’s counter-intuitive, they’re a better source of referrals than your strong links. It’s why networking groups and industry conferences can potentially lead to new clients.
Stand Out and Get Noticed
With no specific target market, your business gets lost among the hundreds of other businesses offering the same service. Whereas, a business niche which solves a very specific problem for a select group gets you noticed. This positions you as a trusted advisor.
Periodically I’ll land on an accounting website that lists 25 specialties. That tells me this accounting professional’s a generalist and reluctant to choose a single area of focus.
The one-size-fits-all approach solves superficial problems. It’s like preferring one-size-fits-all clothing to custom made clothes. They’re too baggy on some and too tight on others. Only a select few really look good in those clothes. Or, you need to adapt the clothes to fit you correctly.#Accounting firms who remain generalists and serve everyone spread themselves too thin. It’s like preferring one-size-fits-all clothing to custom made clothes. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Selecting a specific niche is a perfect fit for your ideal clients. You get noticed by the right people and they value your service.
Research the Market
Sometimes you may offer a fantastic service. But, end up marketing to the wrong niche. That’s exactly what happened with one software company. They developed a fantastic software product for medical practices.
They promoted their service to physicians, but ended up getting poor results. That’s because they mistakenly targeted the wrong market. Physicians weren’t the users and didn’t truly understand their value.
Rather than throw in the towel, they reviewed their strategy and shifted their focus. They started to market to the medical billers. That’s because physicians hire medical billers to file their claims. Once this software company targeted the correct user, their business quickly grew.
Sometimes you offer a good service; however, you’re targeting the wrong market. That’s when you want to change your audience rather than change your act.
Get crystal clear about who you serve and what you offer. Clients will try to lead you astray, asking you to do things which extend beyond your expertise. And, you will be tempted to veer off rather than stay in your lane.
I’ve encountered many accounting professionals who strayed away from their specialty. As a result, they spend too many hours doing work they don’t truly enjoy. When you dilute your focus, and do things you don’t savor, this turns your business into a grind.
Since it’s your practice, you choose what you want to do and who you want to serve. Set a boundary which allows you to cherry pick your clients. Expect to say “no” to non-ideal clients or turn down work when it’s outside of your area.
Stay in Your Lane
Sticking to your specialty saves you from difficult decisions later on. You avoid spending time doing work which you’d rather not do. And, you don’t have to wonder how to fire non-ideal clients.
A million general accounting practices exist which offer one-size-fits-all solutions. Don’t follow the masses. Enjoy the rewards of a highly specialized niche firm. At the end of the day, the trust and respect you gain is well worth it.
Developing a business niche is easier said than done. Follow these recommendations for your accounting practice to grow without burning you out. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to earn more while lightening your workload.