Focusing on a niche naturally breeds a deeper understanding of your clients' needs and that expertise is what helps differentiate you from competitors. Focusing on a particular industry or service also means being able to standardize your technology stack and become an expert in it. It creates efficiencies and helps you deliver a better work product for clients.
Here’s how great practitioners find the niche that will work best for their firm.
Finding your niche is a process, not an event
Keep in mind that, whether you realize it or not, you probably already have at least a bit of a niche. Most practitioners work with a group of clients in certain industries. Or they specialize in certain services. Selecting and developing your niche just means finding more of the clients you want to work with. That’s a transition that takes time.
The best way to ensure success is to follow a simple three step process.
Step One: Identify what your top clients have in common
To identify the niche best suited to your business, first look for a pattern amongst the clients you already work with. What do your ‘A’ clients have in common? What industry are they in? What needs or pain points do they share? What is their attitude towards technology? How easy are they to work with? How do they prefer to work? What support or on-boarding needs do they have? Do they have a common network?
The answers to these questions reveal what you already do well. They identify the specific reasons your best clients are drawn to your firm.
Step Two: Review the practice you wish to build
Once you have a good idea of what your best clients have in common, consider your vision for your business. What type of practice are you trying to build? What is your area of expertise? What type of work do you enjoy doing the most? What is your geographic scope? What type of relationships do you want to have?
The answers to these questions tell you a lot about what will motivate you. They reveal the type of client and work you aspire to.
Step Three: Define your ideal client
The final step in identifying your niche is to define your Ideal Client. Look at the commonalities between your top clients from step one. Compare them to the attributes of the business you wish to build. The overlap between the two is your ideal client profile.
When you create your profile be as specific as you can in describing that perfect client. Detail their demographics. What business are they in? How many employees do they have? What level of revenue do they produce? Where are they located? What software do they use?
Consider their psychographics. What needs do they have? What type of relationship do they want? What services do they want?
Putting it all together
Your ideal client profile will guide the evolution of your niche. Use it to evaluate each of your current clients. The best matches are the foundation of your future niche. They are the type of client you want to attract more of. Those that are not good matches will fall away over time. As you meet prospective new clients use your profile to gauge whether they fit your niche. Using your profile to evaluate relationships ensures you develop the right niche for you.