It’s so difficult to stay ahead of the pack as an accounting firm. But if you can find your niche as an Accounting firm, you will already have the advantage.
Competition is rife in the accounting industry. It seems that every firm tries to offer every possible service TO EVERYONE. Cast the net wide. And you’re not just competing against local firms anymore either! Cloud computing technology, coupled with increasingly remote workforces, creates GLOBAL competition. So in a sea of everyone else trying to offer everything, how do you find your niche as an accounting firm?
Yeah, it can feel overwhelming. When you’re stacked up against all of these firms, the temptation is to offer as many services to as many industries as possible, too. But trying to become a jack of all trades isn’t the answer. You’ll just stretch yourself too thin and end up competing on price overvalue.
The key is finding your niche and this article will help you to figure out your niche.
But first, let’s look at why this is the better option when compared to trying to do it all.
The Riches Are in the Niches
That’s right! You’re going to generate more revenue for your firm if you focus on a niche.
And there are plenty of reasons for this. For one, you develop a better understanding of what your clients need from you. Yes, every client offers a unique challenge. But when you stick to a niche, you’re going to find a lot of common problems too.
That means you can create processes for dealing with those problems. Your clients will love you because you really understand their pain points. Plus, you get the added bonus of making your firm more efficient.
The quality of your service improves too. Your experience within the niche turns you into an expert. People will come to you because you’ve got a proven track record of helping companies like theirs succeed. And as you keep working with similar clients, you’ll develop an amazing understanding of the finer points of the field. Apply those to your work and you propel your services beyond anything that the ‘jacks-of-all-trades’ can offer.
Finally, we come to marketing. Right now, you may try to target every single industry with your marketing strategy. That could mean you’re wasting time with shotgun email campaigns or blowing a whole lot of money on ads that attract clients whom you don’t want to work with.
When you have an established niche, you also have a defined audience. That means you can target your marketing so you’re only attracting the people who’ll pay a premium for your expert service.
That all sounds great. But there’s one problem…
How do you pinpoint your ideal niche?
We’ve got four tips that help you.
Tip #1 – Look at Your Current Clients
The clients you have right now are the perfect starting point when you’re trying to figure out your niche.
Let’s be honest. We all have clients who we absolutely love. The workflows perfectly and their industry’s easy to work in because you have people who understand what they do. Plus, they’re a pleasure to work with to boot.
Then there are the clients who always feel like a struggle. Sure some are just hard work by default. But maybe it’s because you don’t know enough about their industry. If that’s the case, you’re spending as much time on research as you are on work that you can actually bill for.
Or, it could be because the client themselves doesn’t gel with your firm’s culture. That results in the work you’re doing always feeling like a chore. At worst, you might feel like you’re compromising your firm’s values to get their work done.
The good news is that this is all useful information when you’re identifying your niche.
Those clients that you love working with tell you exactly where you need to focus your efforts. It’s their industry that fits your firm best.
But dig deeper than that.
Try to look at what makes each such a pleasure to work with outside of the fact that you offer the expertise they need. Usually, you’re going to find that they share your culture and align with your vision of how to do business. Use that information to qualify future clients.
So, it goes like this.
Figure out which industries are the most enjoyable and profitable to work in. Make a shortlist if you have to. From there, identify the personality traits of your ideal client. Use that to qualify future clients to ensure you’re always working with people that see things your way.
Tip #2 – Look at Your Team
Let’s say your firm’s fairly new. You’re slowly building a client list but you don’t have enough yet to define a niche based on your previous work.
That’s when you look to your team.
Each member of your team brings something unique to the table. Yes, you’re all accountants on a general level. But their specific work experiences could help you to decide on a niche.
For example, you may have somebody who worked as an in-house accountant for another company. That’s a perfect start. They have an understanding of a niche that they can share with the rest of the team. That means you can start offering targeted services to companies within the same niche as the one they used to work for.
People who’ve worked for other accounting firms might also be able to help here. Maybe they showed a preference or skill working for clients in a particular industry.
Just ask the question. Find out who your people really enjoy working for. Usually, that enjoyment comes from them having a deep understanding of a specific industry or niche.
And here’s something that you may not realise.
It’s not just your people’s professional backgrounds that can inform your decision. They may have personal interests that make them ideal for working with specific niches. Consider parlaying that into working with clients who serve that interest.
Tip #3 – Consider Your Location
It’s not just who you have on the team that will influence your decision. Your firm’s location could also play a huge role.
Your area might be a hotspot for a certain industry.
For example, you might find yourself in a location that has a lot of local retail outlets. That’s a lot of shop owners who might be able to take advantage of your services. After a little research to find out what their specific needs are, you’re in the perfect position to serve them.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to clients who are right next door. But why not take advantage of the situation? There’s a need for accountants with an understanding of a particular niche in the area.
Make that what you do and you’re going to stand out from the rest of the generic firms in your location.
Tip #4 – Never Lose Focus on Profit
Yes, you want to enjoy what you do – it’s critical to running a successful business. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re going to lose your passion for it. And when the passion goes, the business isn’t usually that far behind.
However, you still need to turn a profit.
Now, we’re not saying that you have to work with clients that you hate just to make money. We advised against that earlier. Instead, you may have to get a little more selective with the clients that you love.
Let’s say you have a short list of industries that you know you can provide an amazing service to.
You want to dig into them a little further to find out which of those industries places the highest value on your services. For example, you might identify the tech industry as a potential niche. However, you don’t quite have the experience to work with the major players. That means you’re likely going to work with start-ups.
The feel-good factor of being a part of a tech start-up’s growth may be enormous. But you can’t guarantee that they’re going to succeed. And if they don’t, they’re going to start struggling financially. When that happens, it’s usually payments to third-party consultants that suffer first.
The point we’re making is that you can’t lose sight of profit when chasing your passion.
Work Out Your Accounting Firm’s Niche
The key to finding your niche is to strike a balance between passion and profit. What is your business’s WHY?
It’s so important to love what you do and who you work with. But you’ve also got to think about the welfare of your people and your business. If you’re not making enough money from a niche, you may have to scratch it off the list and focus on a more profitable area.
But here’s the good news.
If you have the expertise and can establish yourself as an authority, this won’t usually be a problem. Potential clients will see exactly what you bring to the table and will want to work with you.
That means they’re going to pay a premium for your services.
But maybe you need a little help to nail down your niche. Or, maybe you’ve figured out who you want to target but you have no idea how to do it.
Hunt & Hawk can help.
We can help you to revamp your brand, create a powerful online presence, and establish a marketing strategy for your niche.
Let’s start with a drink.. after all this is meant to be a long-standing & fun relationship… Book in for a drink & a chat today or leave a comment below to let us know how you need help.
About Hunt & Hawk
You’re a professional services firm. You’re great at what you do, but you suck at sales & marketing. And so you should. Your focus should be on your clients, your team and doing what you enjoy. We see firms all the time who don’t understand sales & marketing, and so they get over-committed & over-complicated with what needs to happen to generate new business. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
We simplify the process & provide step by step guidance that dramatically clarifies the complex. We cater to anything under the Branding, Sales & Marketing umbrella-like brand identity, marketing planning, content creation, beautiful website design, sales processes, and technology implementation. But it’s because we’ve been helping professional services organisations for the last 20 years do all these things, that we now pioneer the New Chemistry of Branding, Marketing & Sales with our Sales & Marketing coaching program. Get the drive of a hunter, and the precision of a Hawk – let us take you under our wing and show you how easy sales & marketing can be.
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