One of the ways you can minimise the time you spend on business development is to focus on developing a niche for yourself. Over the next few posts we are going to dig deep into the ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘what’ and how of a niche.

Firstly, let’s consider what we actually mean by a niche…

A niche is a set of people that have similar attributes; some obvious ones could be tax specialist in property, commercial lawyer specialising in technology clients, general practitioner accountant specialising in local, micro businesses.

Some of the more specialist niches I know of, include:

  • auditor specialising in contract compliance between big brands and media agencies
  • regulatory finance specialist for telecommunications and utility companies
  • HR consultant specialising in workplace mediation and workplace investigations for financial services companies

There are many other ways of grouping people so that you are dealing with a niche: ambitious, proactive, accountants with a personality who have between 5 and 50 employees; people that are concerned about what might happen when their parents go into care soon.

A niche is not:

  • “SME owners”
  • Owner Managed Businesses
  • Family Businesses
  • HNW (high net wealth individuals)

OK, I should say – a useful niche is not…..although that depends on the purpose of having a niche.

What makes a niche useful?

Niches like “SME Owners” will not help anybody find referrals for you however much they want to. There are too many others in the same space, making the same claims. (This is the equivalent of asking for a silver car rather than a pink car) You are relying on other people (referral partners) to notice something and then stop doing their own jobs in order to “sell you”. It’s a bit like having a page of text covered in highlighter ink, nothing stands out enough for anybody to take action.

Become the “go-to” expert

Having clearly defined a niche, it’s now much easier to become the expert within that area, both inside and outside of your firm. In fact, being seen as the ‘go-to’ expert for a subject in your firm is the best way of starting up your own client portfolio. What does that do for you? As the expert people go-to you, rather than anybody else.