Greetings from Connecticut. The RV is parked in the Stonington area, and we’ll be taking in the sites of Mystic, CT and Newport, RI while we are here.
Last week, I edited an Accounting Today “big mistakes” article as if it were written for appraisers instead of accountants. While the mistakes are marketing related, fixing them is mostly just executing the work you are already doing better by being more mindful about what your clients are really looking for and providing that value (in addition to your report).
On to this week. There are riches in niches! Or so “they” say. That’s because you can’t be everything to everybody. Sounds reasonable. But what’s missing is a process that can help you identify your practice niche that everyone says is the secret sauce to making more money.
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
The question I ask when I start every newsletter is the same: will this help you grow your practice in some way. That, and does it pass the “So what” test.
So, what’s the thing you’re struggling with most when it comes to finding your niche and getting the work you want? Email me and I’ll try to help … my inbox is always open!
I’ve written previously that my niche is in the crosshairs of tax purpose valuations (practice area) for manufacturing and distribution companies (industry niche) … I practice what I preach.
And several of my past posts have noted the benefits of practicing in a niche … so I won’t repeat that information.
What I would like to do today is ask you 20 questions that will guide your thought process so that you can get a better sense of the work you like doing, the clients you enjoy serving, at fees you can live with … and see if that translates into a practice niche for you.
If you have a decent amount of experience under your belt, this exercise should be easy.
About the work
If you’ve performed different kinds of engagements (tax, fair value, divorce):
- Which type did you like the most?
- Which type was the most intellectually challenging?
- Which type made the time fly by?
- Which type offers repeat performances or add-on services?
- Which type is least likely to be commoditized?
- Which type is least likely to be made irrelevant by changes in law or regulations?
About the clients
Some clients (referral sources) we love … some not so much.
- Which ones offer you the best opportunity to do the work you like most?
- Which ones are you most willing to go the extra mile for?
- Which ones do you know personally better than others?
- Is the geography of the clients important to you?
About the fees
Many times the type of work, the kind of client, and the amount of the fee go hand in hand.
- What work/client offers the highest realization?
- What work/client offers the most potential for value pricing?
- What work/client offers the fewest unexpected scope surprises?
Existing and expected time and resources also play a role when you think of specializing in a niche.
- Which industries do you know better than others?
- Will you need new connections and referral sources?
- Will you need specialized (expensive) research, databases, or software?
- Will you need a specialized credential?
- Are there opportunities to create alternative revenue streams?
- Is the niche already over-served or mistakenly under-represented?
- Are you at a point in your life/career where you can/want to make a change?
Now that you’ve got these 20 questions answered you should have a good idea of what niche you can start to focus your marketing on. This doesn’t have to be a forever choice though. You should revisit these questions every year and refine your niche or take it in a different direction.
In real life
I have said this before, and it bears repeating. Most of our BV industry bigwigs got there by specializing in a niche. If you don’t believe me, approach a few of them at the next conference you attend and ask them. I doubt any of them will say, “Yeah, I take on most of the work that comes my way.”
And don’t pick a niche for the potential profits. Pick it because you like the work. If you don’t like the work, you’ll hate doing it, it will show up in the quality of your client interactions and work product, and you won’t be successful.
– If you like what I write about, tell a colleague.
– If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, email me.
– If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn.
– If you want a sense of how well your practice is working for you, take this Practice Self Assessment.