In case you missed my last post: Micro-influence: This 1 strategy can grow your practice locally, regionally, or nationally. Most small BVFLS practices are geographically confined to their city. For other practices, geography is less meaningful or not meaningful at all. Micro-influence accounts for the difference.
On to this week: The paradox of limiting yourself is that the more specific you are, the easier for your audience to find you … the more efficiently you can sell to that audience … the more effectively you can deliver your services … and the more likely you can charge a premium for those services.
I am convinced the best way to grow/build/scale your practice in today’s digitally-connected, expertise-based economy—in “these times” or in any other times—is by specializing … where the quality of that specialization is represented by our niche expertise and the quantity by our ability to create value.
Below is a model that illustrates my reasoning. If we consider specialization as a function of Niche Expertise and Value Creation, then we can create a 2×2 matrix to analyze our relative positioning. Let’s take a look.
The 4 quadrants of niche expertise and value creation
The 1st box is high Niche Expertise/low Value Creation
Here, we have niche expertise, but we are not doing enough with it, i.e., not creating value. This happens when we don’t go deep enough with the services we can or could provide. And as a result, we leave money on the table.
(Looking back, I can see that this is the spot I occupied in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I specialized in manufacturing and distribution companies, but I was too focused on “just” delivering tax purpose valuations. There were a lot of value-added opportunities I missed, such as value improvement consulting and exit planning.)
The 2nd box is low Niche Expertise/low Value Creation
I believe this is where many BVFLS practitioners reside, competing with each other on the basis of price. We know we should specialize but are too afraid to make the leap of faith to do it. And as a result, we are woke and broke.
The 3rd box is low Niche Expertise/high Value Creation
This positioning may be characterized by jack-of-all-trades, master-at-some. Here, we need to know a lot about several things … indefinitely. It can be done, but it makes this positioning hard to create and exhausting to sustain.
The 4th box is high Niche Expertise/high Value Creation
This is the positioning owned by practitioners daring enough to make the specialization leap of faith. The niche expertise we have and the value we create gives us a competitive advantage over other professionals.
(However, the paradox here is that we tend to view these professionals as practitioners who first got a competitive advantage and then specialized, when it’s really the other way around.)
In real life
So far, each guest I have interviewed in my INSIDER series (10 as of this post) believes it is important for practitioners to specialize.
Barbara Price (CMO of Mercer capital) said in her April 3rd INSIDER interview: “Specialization creates a pricing fence around you.” So theoretically, you could make more money by working fewer engagements.
And in today’s digitally-connected, expertise-based economy, the search tools available to our leads, prospects, clients, and referral sources allow them to identify and hire the practitioners best suited to solve their specific problems.
If we don’t solve specific (practice area/industry niche) problems we don’t have any competitive advantage over other non-specialists. Is that where we want to be?
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So that is this post’s practice development message.
Hopefully, you can put it to good use.
How can I help you move in the direction of a specialist?
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Free LinkedIn webinar
THIS FRIDAY … 1130am-1230pm ET … FREE LinkedIn WEBINAR!
This is a follow-up to my previous LI webinar. If you want to learn how to use LI better than you have been—to attract leads and convert prospects into clients so that you can deliver your services during these challenging times—then I want to help you.
Click here for the details.
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Don’t be good. Be great.
PS – Whenever you are ready, here are 4 ways I can help you build/grow your BVFLS practice:
1. Join Practice Development ROUNDTABLE
It’s a new Facebook community for BVFLS professionals who are collaborating on how to turn the practices they have into the practices they want.
2. Download this Find Your Niche infographic
The riches are in the niches, as they say. But what’s missing is a process that can help you identify your niche. This infographic is the missing process.
3. Take a free Practice Self-Assessment
I have 10 quick questions, and your answers will help you get a sense of how well your practice is working for you.