How to Take Your Niche to the Next Levelby
During AccountingWEB Live Summit, we hosted a very successful panel discussion on the tools and tactics to target and transform your niche. But how does one begin to develop a niche? Our recent Live Digital discussion for our Practice Excellence series gave those panelists a chance to explain.
Building out a niche for your practice is not something to be taken on lightly, but can be the most rewarding move you make.
With an increasing number of accountants feeling burnt out by tax and compliance work, the idea of growing a niche practice has become more attractive than ever. But how does one even get started? What do you need to know and how do you know the right niche for you to explore?
Hosted by Alison Ball, our recent Live Digital discussion with Sherrell Martin, Lynda Artesani and Billie Anne Grigg about their unique experiences and knowledge of building out a niche for an accounting practice, and the rewards and challenges associated with doing so.
Out of the gate, the main issue was about the niches they each developed and how they decided on them. In some cases, it was about diving deeper into a client base they already knew, but in others, it was about taking on a challenge in an underserved area.
For Billie Anne, it began with the simple desire to move away from compliance. "I got into my niche because I wanted to be able to do the brain work, beyond compliance, but I didn't want a big firm or a lot of employees. So, I needed to automate and streamline as a I could and then do the brain work. I felt having a niche was the only way to do that."
Lynda and Sherrell did echo Billie Anne's points, but they had their own reasons for the niches they chose.
For Sherrell, she already had a lot of construction clients but only one interior design client, who eventually had to shutter their business because of the pandemic. For her, she saw an opportunity in an underserved market. "When I decided on interior design clients I really didn't have any, but the fact there weren't many [accountants] in this space I thought I could do it."
The other motivating factor, for her, was the amount of tech she would not have to deal with, as she explains.
"The opportunity [in an underserved market] and a reduced tech stack was what worked for me [in deciding to go build a niche]. I didn't want to have to learn more apps and more technology," said Sherrell. "I am very tech-heavy so I looked at accounting apps that [interior design] clients used and it wasn't QuickBooks so I got to learn what they Do use. There's one app that integrates, the others don't but I learned it."
Even Alison highly advised that anyone developing a niche practice should have an understanding of what software that industry uses.
For Lynda, who works predominantly with clients in the legal profession, her choice to develop a niche, to begin with was -- among other things -- for the opportunities for growth. "I admit, I got into my niche for the potential for higher earning. But I also enjoy being able to sit in board rooms and really help guide my clients on their next steps more than before."
So, finding the "why" is clearly one of the most weighted parts of the decision to develop a niche service. But there's plenty more to it from technology choices to how you even learn more about a niche, especially if it's a new area for you, and how to stay involved, market yourself and develop a client base.
Our panel touches on all of the above and, as such, we encourage you to see the entire session right here for free!