Do you stand apart from the competition, or are you part of the pack? Do you see yourself as an expert with a specific and loyal clientele? Is this how your clients perceive you? More important, is this how potential clients see you? Have you successfully differentiated your practice specialty from all of the other CPAs in town?

An Experiment

Try an experiment.

Pretend you are a prospective client looking for a CPA who works with non-profit agencies. You are starting a non-profit that helps children with chronic and debilitating illnesses obtain the special equipment needed to succeed in school and in life. This equipment includes medical equipment and school supplies, equipment, tutoring, etc.

Now, work from the client’s point of view to find an appropriate accountant to work with. Go online and see what you find when you search for a CPA in your town who works with non-profits and has some experience with obtaining products and equipment from other firms. Google “CPA, your town, non-profit, children” and see what you find. Then review two of the online directories you will find in your search results. Narrow down the list to your town, to non-profit specialization and try to find someone who promotes experience with non-profits that help children.

You probably found several CPA firms that work with non-profit organizations. None of them would differentiate anything more focused than that. In all likelihood, that work with non-profit organizations is one of several niche areas of work listed by the firm. You might want to try the experiment again with different client descriptions. The result of the experiment will probably be the same.

How to Differentiate

Here is the point: Accounting firms tend to do the same things for their clients. Some firms have more experience and interest in particular accounting specialty areas (niches) – forensic accounting, litigation, real estate, non-profits, corporate tax accounting and planning.  Some of these firms advertise this difference. What these firms accomplish is to narrow the competition. Building a micro-niche, however, eliminates all competition.

Differentiating yourself from the pack has obvious marketing advantages. Building a micro-niche around your particular expertise is an ideal way to differentiate your practice from your competitors. There are several key benefits of building a micro-niche based on expertise and eliminating competition.

• The level of specialization and your expertise justify premium pricing

• People will seek you out for your expertise

• People will travel farther to take advantage of your expertise and services

• You will receive higher-quality and more referrals

• You will be able to do the kind of work you enjoy most

• You will be more productive through economies of processes and knowledge

• You will know more about the specialty and be a more helpful advisor

• You will increase both top line revenue and bottom line profit

These are merely a few of the many benefits of differentiating your business from that of others. This differentiation then becomes the basis of your marketing strategy. In all of your marketing and in all of your conversations, you specify that you are an expert in your specific niche – actually a micro-niche. Now instead of responding to a question about what you do by saying, “I am an accountant,” you will respond with, “I am an automotive industry accounting expert. I help companies with all types of relationships to the automotive industry understand and maximize their specific role in the industry in ways that reduce risk, maximize profit and win customer loyalty.

Does it not make sense to differentiate your expertise and stand apart from the competition?

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