Growing your firm doesn’t always mean trying to attract as many new clients as you can. Sometimes focusing your attention on a niche can wield better results. Specialising in a particular area may mean you’ll face less competition than as a general practice. It could also allow you to deliver fewer services, but to a higher standard, and make it easier for clients looking for experts in your field to find you on Google. What’s important when choosing your niche is that you get it right. Here are four ways to work it out.
1. Review your client list
There’s a good chance you’re already servicing several different niches. Examine your current client list and categorise your clients into industry sectors. Take your top four or five sectors and assess them for average revenue per client. This should reveal the number of clients you service in each sector, as well as the value of that particular niche. Use these results to help inform your decision about which segment is worth focusing on.
2. Play to your strengths
Audit your talent base to assess where your employees’ skills lie, and look for any common denominators. For example, you might find that more of your people have experience in tax accounting for small business, or perhaps more come from a corporate background with higher level financial expertise. This can be a helpful exercise for determining where your current team will excel without the need for a major recruitment drive.
3. Expand your boundaries
It’s a digital world, and that means you no longer have to limit yourself to working for clients in your physical proximity. Instead, conduct some market research into which niches are growing and which may be currently under-served by accounting firms. Technology – whether video conferencing to facilitate online meetings or cloud-based accounting tools such as QuickBooks Online to help you manage interstate and offshore clients – can help you to deliver accounting services to businesses well beyond your local territory.
4. Leverage your industry contacts
You’ve likely already built strong relationships with your key clients. Consider which of these relationships you may be able to leverage to sign up new clients in their horizontal markets. For example, a logistics company you currently work with may be able to recommend your firm to a range of online retail businesses, or a healthcare centre may be willing to introduce you to several of their independent medical contractors.
Identifying the best niche for your accounting firm is about understanding which industry sectors you currently serve, which are most lucrative to your firm, and which are under-served by specialised accounting experts. The answers to those questions will likely reveal what’s worthwhile for you to focus on.
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