When building a micro-niche you identify and build around your best clients. When focusing on efficiency you typically want to identify the 20% of your clients who use 80% of your time. In most firms, these clients drain your productivity and your patience. The focus of your larger practice needs to be on the clients who need your micro-niche services and those who will need those services in the near future. In order to cultivate your best clients and your micro-niche clients, you likely need to fire some of your worst clients. Do you know who they are?
The first group of clients that comes to mind will likely be the unpleasant people. Your worst clients are likely to be those who would never become micro-niche clients. They might also be clients who work in industries you know little about. You might want to fire those that
- pay late
- make unreasonable demands
- challenge most vehemently when you need to raise rates
- rarely have receipts and other documentation ready on time
- use only a single service
- can most easily be transferred to others in or outside your firm
Keep in mind that you cannot afford to fire indiscriminately every client that does not fit your ideal client profile for your micro-niche. Especially in the beginning, your micro-niche will not be sufficient to meet your financial. Many micro-niches, in fact, will never grow large enough to do so. What you need to do when starting your micro-niche is three-pronged:
- Attract the new clients you need for your micro-niche.
- Fire your worst clients.
- Retain other clients who are profitable and who are likely to use additional services.
In other words, it is important to retain a solid client base while building a micro-niche. As your micro-niche business grows, you will continue to fire some (perhaps as many as 5%) of your “worst” clients. Before you start firing clients, however, you need a deep understanding of your existing clients and their needs, both immediately and in the near future.
- Keep other clients in the same industry.
- Keep other clients who operate the same type of business
- Keep other clients who are responsible for the majority of your referral business
These are the clients you will want to keep in your book of business while (and after) you build your micro-niche.