There are a lot of great #xerocon debriefs so I just want to highlight a recurring theme in a number of the presentations I attended and in a number of conversations I had throughout the two days. In fact, it’s even been woven in to the new Advisor Directory.

“Defining your ideal client”

During Jamie Johns presentation “Taking your business to new heights”, he discussed the vertical Sky Accountants have chosen: Hospitality and Tourism with the strongest focus on clubs and gaming venues. When Jamie went through the reasons why they selected this niche (inexperienced boards, archaic technology, ability to pay, massive scope for systems improvements) the entire audience was sold on further defining their vertical.

Jamie then went on to casually mention all the decisions they could make because of this focus. They can attend relevant hospitality and gaming conferences and be the only accountant in the crowd, they can focus their online presence and communication, they can be the thought-leaders on best technology solutions and the list went on.

Where a lot of firms get stuck when talking about defining a niche was summarised by a question from the audience:

“What did you do with your other, non-hospitality, clients?”

Jamie explained that they still service all the clients they have had for 10+ years the fact that their website and marketing focuses on hospitality doesn’t concern the existing clients whatsoever.

I was also lucky enough to get a seat in Steph Hinds presentation “The power of social media”. Steph commenced by saying that most of the common questions she is asked about social media:

“What medium should I use, twitter, LinkedIn, facebook, instagram, etc?”

“What content?”

“How often?”

All comes back to “Who is your ideal client?”

Until you have defined this you will not get the traction you are seeking through social media. She had a wealth of fantastic tips and insight but it essentially came back to: proceed directly to step one = carefully define your ideal client.

Even Xero itself has made a significant change within the Advisor Directory (potential massive lead source) so firms can be searched based on their industry expertise. In fact, at least three different Xero representatives said from stage “so make sure you update those industry codes”.  I suspect this is also so they can get going with some big data benchmarking but nevertheless when the ‘codes don’t lie’ your niche or lack there of will be searchable.

Our coach, Scott Charlton, has worked with many firms over the past 10+ years and when I think about the massive success stories, many of them have taken the journey from being a generalist firm to having a clearly defined niche. Their online presence is fundamentally different, their offices, their services and even down to the team they hire are curated to suit their ideal clients.

Here is an example of a firm we work with who recently worked out their passion and has a new lease on business and life. From a generalist, we will work with anyone, to >>>>THIS<<<<

Trial and error on selecting the right niche for you and your business can be costly and frustrating. If you want to discuss and get some more examples from top performing firms let me know. For some more inspiration check out Jamie John’s recommendation on my profile, I’m so glad we crossed paths many moons ago!

Sharon McClafferty is a director of Slipstream Coaching, a company dedicated to assisting financial practitioners achieve their potential. Sharon can be contacted via phone on 0473 491 976 or email sharon@slipstreamcoaching.com.au