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Live Expo: Uncover the power of becoming a super specialist

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From veganism to cryptocurrency, the second day of the AccountingWEB Live Expo saw an expert panel discuss the benefits and common pitfalls of niching. Tallula Brogan listened in on the panel discussion. 

6th Dec 2021
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There has never been a better time to pursue a niche within your practice. Gone are the days of generalist firms - if you want to get anywhere in accountancy, you have to find your niche.

Panellist Joe David, the founder of crypto-accountancy practice Nyphos, was a firm non-believer of niche marketing until he “saw the light” earlier this year, he told the audience on day two of  AccountingWEB Live Expo.

“I didn’t know what the power of niching was until I did it,” David said. “I wish I had done it sooner.”

In pursuing the crypto-currency client market, David was able to grow his second firm within a matter of months to a level that his existing generalist firm had only managed to achieve in years.

“Anyone who says niching is a bad idea is just making noise for the sake of making noise,” agreed host Carl Reader.

He compared the idea of niching your practice to the marketing strategies of companies such as M&S or Lidl, who have examined their target market and identified the power of playing to the wants and needs of that specific audience.

These hugely successful organisations have been able to excel in their field and attract a loyal following of the exact clientele they’re after.

“When you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one,” said accountancy firm owner and coach Reza Hooda. “You have to specialise to get noticed. The most valuable commodity in today's day and age is people's attention.”

The people aspect

Reader stressed the importance of targeting a specific type of person in your niching, and even went as far as to create a ‘client avatar’ when he was initially exploring the idea in his practice:

“Life’s too short. You want to work with the people you want to work with,” he said. “Find out the nuances of who your ideal customer is. What’s their business, what’s their turnover, which supermarkets do they go to, where do they go on holiday - what is it about them?”

By getting into the mindset of the client you want to work with, you’re more likely to attract and engage with that exact person.

“The magic of niching is delivery,” Reader continued. “You can adapt your delivery to the service needs of your niche market.”

“It’s about building a rapport with your client, creating a connection, and finding things in common,” added Keith Lesser of Vegan Accountants. Within his niching, he has been able to create a network through an inclusive rather than exclusive approach.

What this does in turn, Lesser explained, is create a stream of referrals of its own accord - people are more likely to recommend clients to you when you’re operating within a close community of like-minded people.

Picking your niche

Hooda advised picking your niche based upon your passions. Whilst a generalist might understand a variety of fields on a surface level, a niche practitioner will be better able to form a deeper understanding of their field and hone in their credible expertise and authority on the subject.

He described a pyramid of niching routes to achieve the most “laser-focused” outcome, starting with the peak point of industry:

  • Industry: Niching in a specific industry area your clients operate within.
  • Activity: Niching in what your clients do across several industries, such as tax planning and estate planning.
  • Lifecycle: Niching in the stage of businesses your clients are currently in, such as startups, mature business, exit businesses, kickstarter businesses etc.

Stop marketing to the masses

When you get to a point where you are tailoring your marketing exclusively towards a specific group of people, everything becomes easy, Hooder explained.

“People are willing to pay you more. You can charge more for what you do,” he said. “A specialist gets paid more than a generalist.”

One of the factors in David’s delayed onset of niche marketing was the question of why he would willingly make his market smaller by only targeting one type of person. What he found instead was, the market actually became bigger.

“You become the main person to go to in that sector,” he told the audience. “You become able to focus on that industry and understand it inside out.”

Systemisation was a big block in his practice beforehand, but as his marketing became streamlined his systems followed suit - he was using the same software with the same people for the same goal. The work became more efficient, more enhanced, and much easier than it was before.

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