The 31 Day Guide To Starting Your Own Accounting Business – Day 2 – What Niches Do You Serve?

Most local accountants serve a broad spectrum of clients. Maybe a small restaurant, a dry cleaner, a day care center, a trucking company, a roofing company, or some such other type of enterprise. Accountants in general consider the work they do generic and transferable from one business to another. thebusinessdays

Your clients don’t think so.

Each client you have is in an industry with unique characteristics, and they know it. They want you to understand the uniqueness of their industry, and they want to think that you are an expert in the unique tax problems, financial and operating problems, and even the marketing problems they face. They want you to know more about their industry than they do. That’s why they hired you. bareng88

There is an old proverb that “A man cannot serve two masters at the same time.” I modify that a bit and say “You cannot serve two masters, until you have learned to serve one well.”

You must make a conscious decision about which target market segment you want to serve, first. Once you have mastered the knowledge required to serve that target market segment well, then you can move on to your next target.

Once you have decided which market segment you are going to serve first, you can begin to design your business model with a strong understanding of that segments specific needs. storygame

Customers can be segmented if:
Their needs require and justify a distinctly different services offer
They must be approached through different marketing channels
They require different working relationships than other groups
They have substantially different contributions to your margin, and
They are willing to pay for different aspects of the services you offer.

Different types target segments CAN include the broad based market that the typical accounting practitioner serves. This is the B2B equivalent of the consumer “mass market.”

In an attempt to differentiate their practice, one way of targeting customer segments that is typically to identify a niche market and target that niche. This is the approach used by folks who develop and use “Industry Segment Marketing Kits.” They select one niche at a time and develop a marketing campaign specifically targeting members of that industry group.

While this is a good way of targeting a segment, it is merely a tactic to be used in the strategy you develop after designing or identifying your business model. In other words, as much as I’d like to sell you a subscription to this excellent series, I suggest you wait until you are sure you want to include it as a tactic in your marketing arsenal. sportsyearly

For example, another method of identifying your target segment is to identify their specific needs and problems. In this case you may want to identify prospects by their specific tax needs (need for a Cost Segregation Study), or their financing needs (Commercial Loan Packaging), or possible their need for customer lead generation (Client Mini-Site Web Hosting). This type of segmentation could conceivably wind up having you serve several different industry segments, each with a unique need. knowledgehype

Your business model could wind up with you serving multiple segments. For example, you could be a generic broad based practice, but you begin to identify clients with accounts receivable problems, so you develop services to aid in receivables and cash flow management. Or, you could be offering a payroll service and develop a staffing service as a means of reducing client payroll costs.

Your business model could even serve two interdependent market segments, such as a practice that needs a large base of referrers to send clients to their office, while at the same time needs a large base of clients to act as referrers. Or, a tax preparation service that needs a large base of individual tax clients, and a large base of payroll clients to aid in creating name recognition among prospects. gossipcare

For each customer segment you identify, and choose to serve, you must develop a specific value proposition. You must specifically decide what you are going to offer.

And, once you have identified your target market segment, and spelled out the specific value proposition you are going to offer, then you can define how your relationship will be structured and what channels you are going to use to deliver your offer and your services.


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