Specialize Your Way to Success

Lynda Artesani
Posted by Lynda Artesani on Jul 2, 2021 8:16:17 AM

You need to know so many things about running your accounting or bookkeeping firm, from choosing the technology and getting clients to streamlining processes. It is a gratifying profession, but it can also be a daunting if you try to serve various clients in multiple industries. Specialization is the only way to stand out in an oversaturated market and stay ahead of ever-changing technology and automated bookkeeping services.

You may have considered niching your practice and then had questions float in your mind and hold you back:

  • Which industry or area should I specialize in?
  • What if I don’t pick the right specialty?
  • How do I even start?
  • Will I be bored?

I had all of those questions. I adored all my clients. How could I possibly choose one industry that I would be interested in?

What industry?

I narrowed my list down to three areas that I thought would work best for me. So, instead of selecting one, I opened the door to let the one that was best organically float to the top. For me, that was the legal industry. But my other two choices were real estate and startups.

Startups waned away quickly because startup clients did not have the funding to support my expertise and my ultimate goal from niching - charging more. I always loved their passion, but for me to specialize, that choice was not going to work. Real estate would also have worked, as it is an industry that requires some extra challenges with security deposits and the volume of transactions, but it did not energize me.

What if I don’t pick the right specialty?
I was concerned about this too. A lot of effort goes into selecting a niche, and if it doesn’t work out, there will be time lost. With my initial consideration of real estate, I did some homework and worked on finding the best apps and a great workflow to work with landlords and property management firms.

However, over time, it was the legal industry that really intrigued me with trust accounting, advanced client costs and complex compensation reporting. I felt I could provide excellent value to my clients with the vast knowledge I had gained over the years of providing accounting in the legal industry.

Remember, it took a leap of faith to leave your 9-5 job and jump into entrepreneurship. What if you never take this leap to specialize your firm? Starting your own business meant you took chances; switching to a niche is also risky, but the benefits outweigh the risks. If you choose one that doesn’t work out the way you want, simply go back to your list and choose again. Trust your instincts.

How do I start?

Study the industry. Maybe you have a client or two in your chosen field. Start to do that deep analysis. Visualize what it would look like if all of your clients resembled the few you already have in the niche. Take some webinars that your clients would take and look at the topics that are listed. These are the things that keep your client awake at night. Listen to the podcasts the clients would listen to. Start to google search these topics to see what you can quickly learn. Begin to formulate your tech stack. Test out some of the apps specific to your industry.

Will I be bored?

This was my #2 fear. Would I be bored doing the same thing for the same client type? This ended up becoming my most irrational fear, as just the opposite happened.

The more I learned about my niche, the more I wanted to know. The more clients I obtained, the more I could understand the pain points and see what worked and what did not. I could see repeated vendors, and I could make recommendations to my new clients. My staff learned the workflow and aced it. They love the challenge of a good old trust account that is un-balanced and they enjoy breaking the code and figuring out what needs to be done to fix it. I started to make Loom videos to teach the team what I learned. These videos were used again and again as we grew and added to our team.

The benefits from the repeatable processes were phenomenal! Making the shift required me to target my blog posts to the one industry and to my new client type and never look back.

Final tips

Now, was there a time when the sales funnel slowed as I redirected my blog content? Yes. It is paramount that you have some cash saved up for that inevitable part of the process. Remember that this is temporary. And as you grow and thrive in your new specialized world, you can charge more because you know more. Knowing how to confidently answer the client’s questions will be that magic sauce that sets you above that average bookkeeper who works with all client types.

I have said this a hundred times, niching my firm was the BEST decision I have made with my accounting firm. If you enjoy what you do, you will do it well. If you do it well, your clients will see value in what you are doing and will be willing to pay you for your services. It is by far the easiest way you can scale your business and increase your profits. Automation is the key to scaling a business, and the key to automation is a well-defined client type.

Topics: Niche Advisory


 

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