Inspiration for deciding on your firm’s market niche – How to attract people who believe what you believe

By Posted in - Public Blog on July 22nd, 2010 2 Comments

This morning an update in Facebook from my former employer and ongoing mentor, Paul Dunn, caught my attention. Paul recently interviewed Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

In Paul’s blog post he highlighted a few key quotes from the interview with Simon:

  • “People don’t buy WHAT you do they buy WHY you do it.”
  • “The goal is not to do business with everyone who needs what you have;
 it’s to do business with those who believe what you believe.”
  • “When you talk about what you believe then you will 
attract those who believe what you believe.”

You can read Paul’s full blog post here and you’ll see a link to listen to the recording of the interview. It’s brilliant stuff. Below I have also embedded a video of Simon presenting at TED.

So what does this all have to do with marketing an accounting practice, selling additional services and growing your firm’s Clientshare™?

The first step in the marketing process we teach accounting firms is to choose a market niche. Within our ‘Marketing Machine’ model, we call this ‘The Radar’. Most firms fail to focus in their strategy and their marketing. They take on all comers. Anyone with a heartbeat and a chequebook.

That is a sure-fire formula for mediocrity.

How can you and your team possibly be great at serving all types of people? You can’t. They can’t.

In a recent class in The Clientshare Academy program, we discussed the thinking behind a Focus Strategy (one of Porter’s Generic Strategies) and the process of selecting a niche to dominate. There are all sorts of fears around adopting a niche strategy, such as “You mean I have to turn away business?!” David’s Maister’s brilliant article, Strategy Means Saying No (which is now an article in his latest book, Strategy and the Fat Smoker) addresses this issue well.

While there are objective and commercial market demographic criteria you can apply in the process, Simon Sinek hits on a far more important, and bigger picture, criterion: What is it you truly believe in? WHY do you do what you do? Why do you feel you can help your chosen market niche better than any other firm?

I’ll give you a personal example: Why does Practice Paradox focus on helping accounting firms when the marketing and selling principles apply to many different types of business? Simple. I firmly believe that accounting firms are in a wonderful position to make a big difference to their clients’ lives, to help them improve their financial position and to achieve their wealth-related goals. It is tragic, in my view, that so many firms do not do this. They “just do my tax”, we hear clients of accounting firms say in our market research. A very small percentage of firms—the innovative 5%—actually discuss with their clients where the client is now, where they want to be in the future, what the best strategies are for getting there, what the steps to take along the way are, and then help the client implement these steps and stay on track.

THAT is adding value to clients. THAT is changing lives.

In choosing your niche, examine your beliefs, the ‘WHY’ that is driving you.

Project yourself forward 10 or 20 years and imagine the difference you’d like to make in your clients’ lives. Think about HOW you’d help them achieve a better position in life, and think about WHO you’d like to work with.

The WHO is your target niche. The HOW is your service offering.

More important than either though, is your WHY.


Where do you sit when it comes to niching your firm?
Get your free copy of the Niching Checklist and Guide for Accountants here.

  • Kirsten says:

    Very inspiring!

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