When you see advertisements for professionals or firms, do you ever wonder how anyone can be an expert in all of the niche areas the firm lists in their ad or on their website? I saw a website recently that listed 20 or more industries in which four people work. Can each of the partners really be experts in five different industries? 

The error in this kind of advertising is that the days of the generalist are gone. We live in the age of specialists. When people make choices about professional services firms, they choose the firm with the expert in the specific service they need. There are certainly services that do not require specialization in every profession, but when it comes to running their business, people increasingly want the corporate attorney or the accountant who has
knowledge and experience with their business type and with the industries in which they work.

Accountants who want to be involved in business strategy and planning with their clients, rather than just auditing the books and doing the tax documents need to communicate to prospective clients that they have the training and expertise to provide real help and insight. When a startup has a real innovation that can transform an industry, doesn’t it make sense that they want from their accountant the business, industry and corporate knowledge to offer real help as they make strategic decisions and try to get the attention
of the right people in the industry?

Micro-niches are the perfect way to build your business (at least part of it) around your particular expertise. Once you build the micro-niche, you must learn to match your marketing to your expertise/micro-niche. Until you do, you could be perceived as the typical generalist. But as an expert, your marketing can demonstrate your knowledge of
the needs of micro-niche clients, knowledge of and visibility in the industry and your desire to know your clients’ businesses in depth so you can offer valuable insight and advice.

If you were running a company that does business in a particular industry, would you choose the generalist accountant who does everything or the expert accountant who provides boutique client services for people who have the same kind of business in the same industry? Who do you think could help you the most?

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