Developing an Industry Niche
Most small business owners position their business to meet everyone's needs in an effort to capture more business. Their rationale is that the broader I position my services, the bigger the business I will develop.
The reality is just the opposite. By positioning your services to everyone, you end up competing against every firm in the area that claims to do what you do. When this happens, price becomes a larger factor because you have not effectively differentiated your services. That's why niche development for your accounting practice is so beneficial.
When you become known for a particular niche, the following things happen:
- Your marketing efforts become more focused
- Your networking efforts become very targeted
- You start attending conferences geared towards your niche
- You become superior at meeting the needs of this niche (vs. a generalist)
- Your conversion ratio increases
- Your referrals increase
- You can command higher pricing
Granted, you'll still have generalist type clients to pay the bills. But going forward, your direction will be much more focused and you will become superior in your niche. Many savvy accounting firms have deployed a multiple website strategy focusing on a niche(s) to obtain dominate search engine placement for their practice and to create that aha moment that business owners seek (someone that understands and works with businesses like theirs).
To give you some analogies, look at physicians. The specialists have a much narrower target audience than general practitioners (GP's). The GP's have long-term relationships with patients and refer business to specialists. However, the specialists make more money than GP's.
If your practice is spread too thin and you're caught in "no mans" land, then make this a priority. Research your market to determine which industry might be underserved and develop a plan to capture them. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, get assistance from a coach or peer that has made this transition.
After you've made this transition successfully in a couple years from now, then it's time to take on another niche.
By Hugh Duffy
Hugh Duffy is the Chief Marketing Officer for Build Your Firm www.buildyourfirm.com, a Marketing & Practice Development firm for accounting firms. Email your comments and questions to [email protected] or call 888-999-9800.