The Practice Building Team Blog
When you see advertisements for professionals or firms, do you ever wonder how anyone can be an expert in all of the niche areas the firm lists in their ad or on their website? I saw a website recently that listed 20 or more industries in which four people work. Can each of the partners really be experts in five different industries?
The error in this kind of advertising is that the days of the generalist are gone. We live in the age of specialists. When people make choices about professional services firms, they choose the firm with the expert in the specific service they need. There are certainly services that do not require specialization in every profession, but when it comes to running their business, people increasingly want the attorney or the accountant who has knowledge and experience with their business type and with the industries in which they work.
Every CPA I talk with tells me he or she knows his or her clients. As the conversation evolves, however, it becomes clear that they do not know anything about the inner workings of their clients’ businesses or about the specific challenges the businesses are facing. Most CPAs know only a little bit about many of the industries in which their clients do business (or they know something about two or three industries). And because they do not work with their clients based on this knowledge, they have no opportunity to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities.
There was once a time when CPAs had reason to expect to bring in new clients simply because they are pleasant to work with. There was also a time when CPAs could count on fellow-alumna to become their clients. There was even a time when CPAs could be more competitive by providing services at the lowest price in town. If you still think these statements are true, your firm is no longer competitive.
People often build around things, incorporating them into the design of a building because they do not want to destroy something (a tree, for instance). There is a great deal of intentionality and effort in doing this.
CPAs and other professional services providers can also, with great intentionality, decide to build a portion of their business around something they do particularly well or at which they are considered the expert. They also do some work for their clients requiring an additional level of experience, knowledge or skill. This work merits premium pricing.
When I speak with professionals about building a micro-niche, the first objection I hear from them is, “But I have no idea what to build a micro-niche around.” My response to the objection is always the same, “Build around what you do best, around an area about which you have expert knowledge or around what you most enjoy doing.
If you can build a house around a tree or a stream or anything else, you can build a professional practice around a service micro-niche. Just find the one that makes the best sense for you and for your highest paying and most profitable clients.If you are building a micro-niche practice, please tell us about your experience. We would like to know how you define the area of your practice and how you applied premium pricing.
When you go into a Dollar Store, you expect everything in the store to be priced one dollar. If you go in any other store, you would think something was wrong if everything in the store was available for the same price.
What is your pricing policy?
The most commonly asked question about building a micro-niche business is, “When is the right time to start?” The answer is, “Now.”
Let’s face it, procrastination is much easier than actually starting on a project. Under typical circumstances, if you think about it long enough, you can always think of a reason to defer action.