What is the problem that most accounting firms have when they are told they need to choose a niche?
Most answer they don’t know which niche to choose but, in actual fact, 95% of the time it is because they are fearful of making a decision.
This Fear Is All About The Fear Of Missing Out.
We are constantly telling our clients that they should choose a niche and be very specific on who they help, or on what they specialise in.
However, I totally understand this can be very scary.
As soon as we talk about “niching down” your organisations, your brains are instantly flooded with the idea of no clients, and having to turn people away from working with you.
You imagine that you will not have any conversations. No one will want to work with you because you don’t work in their field. You worry that you will not get any clients and there will be tumbleweed rolling through the empty chasm that used to have a flood of clients coming through it.
The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a common reaction that our brain has to protect us from danger and help us survive in difficult times.
The problem with our brains is they are based on emotion, and not on logic. Our brains are hardwired from thousands of years ago when we were hunter-gatherers and really did live in danger every time we turned a corner.
Even those of us who are very left-brain thinkers, and often make decisions based on logic rather than emotion, will be making more emotional decisions than you think.
Fear, for example, is a very strong emotion. Fear is our brain giving an emotional response to our thoughts. The good news is, we can control our emotions and we do not need to let them get the better of us. We can make a decision to change our thoughts, and in turn, change our emotions.
Alternatively, we can choose to make a decision to not change anything, because we are fearful of what might happen if we do. This in itself is still an emotional decision, even if you choose to do nothing.
Henry Ford hit the nail on the head – “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right”.
He was talking about self-confidence, and was making a bold statement to let others know that one of the primary keys to getting what you want out of life is believing that you can have it.
But as we have already said, our brain is a terrible risk assessor that is hardwired from millions of years ago, and has unfortunately never been upgraded to brain 2.0. It overplays and exaggerates the terrible consequences of taking a risk (it thinks it will get eaten by a lion for example) and it just wants to protect us.
Magic Happens Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
One of the things I often speak about is that magic happens outside of your comfort zone. And niching is often outside of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is a very safe place to live. The comfort zone is secure, and reassures us that we are doing the right thing for our safety and our families.
What is interesting though is that there is a section of our brain that can use logic to understand that we can rewire our thoughts and our habits. We can rise above the “neanderthal brain” and tap into an “entrepreneur brain” which will logically see that choosing a niche will not mean you starve to death, get eaten by a lion or struggle to find clients.
When you make a conscious decision to look at niching from a logical standpoint, rather than an emotional standpoint, you can start to understand the power of doing so.
When choosing a niche, will it make you instantly successful and bring in a flood of new clients? In all honesty probably not. But once you get established and known in that niche, it will. Often I see an accounting practice choose a niche and then a completely different kind of customer approach them to work with them. This is the universe having a great sense of humour.
What do you do in this situation? Do you turn this customer away? Well, if you have decided to go all in and micro niche down, you may choose to turn them away if cash-flow allows. But alternatively, why would you say no to them if you don’t want to? You make the rules and can make the decisions, remember “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right”.
Choosing a niche is about pushing past the initial fear and not worrying about who or what businesses are approaching you, but instead about whom you approach with your marketing outreach and marketing material.
Choose A Hunting Niche
I call this way of niching a “hunting niche”. A hunting niche is where you logically understand that niching enables you to position yourself as the go-to accounting practice for a certain kind of person/business. This means you are seen as the authority and have credibility. This has the knock-on effect of you being able to charge more for your services as you are a specialist. Which in turn gives you more security because you have more profits.
Having a hunting niche means you can still take on other clients if you so wish. But more importantly, you are able to know whom you serve best and purposely connect with your ideal client. Logically this makes sense.
Niching Is Where You Start Not Where You End
And I leave you with one final thought that really resonates with my clients – having a niche is where you start, it is not where you end. Niching enables you to scale your accounting practice, but it is only the beginning of your practice growth journey.
Niching is a strong part of positioning yourself in the marketplace. Positioning is one of the 9 Key Strategies we cover in our marketing training programme The Pioneering Practice. Reach out if you would like to have a conversation and discuss whether this programme is suitable for your accounting firm.