Narrow Your Niche – Know Your Clients
Ready to choose a niche for your accounting practice, but not sure where to start? Then review your clients. Your current clients offer clues about who you ought to work with. Who’s fun and easy? Who’s difficult and demanding? Figure out the specific qualities and characteristics that your ideal and non-ideal clients possess.
Three Client Measuring Steps to Choose Your Niche
Follow these 3 steps to choose your niche.
1. Grade Your Clients
Review every one of your clients and grade them A, B, C, D, and F. Who do you love working with most? Who do you dread? Whose middle of the road?
- Focus on the A clients. What qualities do they share?
- Now, compare the common traits for the B clients.
- Then review the C, D, and F groups.
2. Create Your CriteriaReady to choose a niche? Your current clients offer clues about who you ought to work with. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Next, list the specific qualities your A and B clients possess. One of my clients realized his firm didn’t have any A or B clients. Describe the qualities and characteristics which deeply matter to you. Consider these suggestions:
- Ease of working with the client. Are your clients receptive to your suggestions? Do they follow your recommendations? Are they engaged and ask questions?
- How much you like them. Be honest with yourself. You prefer working with some clients more than others. Consider what you like most about those clients.
- Profit base. Is the work you’re doing profitable? How quickly can you solve your clients specific problem? Some clients may be easier to work with than others. Which clients constantly interrupt your workflow with text messages, emails and phone calls? There’s a hidden cost to these interruptions – are they worth it?
- Buying frequency. Evaluate how often clients use your services. A monthly retainer? Once yearly for tax prep? Or periodic checkups and updates. Do you prefer steady long term clients or cleanup projects?
- Referrals to others. Do your clients spread the word around about how great you are? Client referrals add value beyond the obvious. They contribute to your business growth. Who constantly sends people your way? Who talks about how great you are on social media?
- Source of contact. How do your best clients find out about you?
- Prompt payment. Chasing after money is costly. That time could be better spent elsewhere. Who pays on time and who is constantly late?
Maybe your list has different criteria. Write down the qualities that matter most to you.Review every one of your clients and grade them A, B, C, D, and F. Who is it that you love working with most? Who do you dread? #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
3. Review Your Client Scores
You’re starting to realize which clients are a great fit for your practice. Now it’s time to make decisions about your lower grade clients.
- Transformation possibility. As you review your lower grade clients, consider whether C clients can transition into A or B clients.
- Fire your non-ideal clients. It’s time to free yourself from headache clients who put a drag on your business. Start with the F clients and gradually work up to the C clients. The clients at the bottom of the pile rarely turn into A or B clients.
- Cherry pick your clients. Start to replace the F’s, D’s and C’s with new A and B clients. Shift your client base to high-performing clients who quickly reply to your requests, value your service and bring in a solid income stream.
Most accounting professionals make the mistake of holding onto non-ideal clients for too long. Those clients, however, drain your energy, require additional time and lower your profitability. So, gradually weed them out.
Continually raise the bar on your clients. Perform this grading exercise every six months. Your ideal client will change over time; it’s an evolutionary process. Plus, you’ll notice specific qualities which you overlooked the first time you graded your clients.
Transition to High-Grade Clients
Consider this a process of simple math, its subtraction and addition. As you let go of non-ideal clients, you add great clients who highly value your service.As you let go of non-ideal clients, you add great clients who highly value your service. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Here’s an advanced tip: People spend time with like-minded people. It’s likely your A clients know others who share similar qualities and can send great referrals to your business. Go ahead and ask them where they hang out.
Consider attending their industry conferences and events.
Are tired of working with non-ideal clients, but concerned about how to choose your niche? Follow these recommendations for a business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive.
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