Many smaller CPA firms and solo-practitioners “dabble” in non-traditional and/or specialized industry engagements and services. For a variety of reasons (i.e., risk exposure, staffing challenges, market opportunity, etc), increasing numbers of these part-time specialists are deciding to get serious about developing their niche practices.
As depicted on the accompanying diagram, there are five key components which I believe are fundamentally essential to any successful “specialized-services” practice. These elements represent the building blocks of the “Niche+ Methodology” I use in my own firm and with other firms with whom I consult. Each component is briefly described below:
Niche Strategy – Identification of the niche-practice areas in which to specialize, establishment of specific goals, and development of clear plans for successful achievement.
Branding/Messaging – Design and creation of corporate identity, website content, social media, and other tools…and the development and delivery of proper marketing messages to the firm’s internal (e.g., staff) and external (e.g., clients and referral sources) audiences.
The Team – Selection of the firm’s niche-practice “Champion” and establishment of a strong team comprised of salaried and contract professionals employed on full-time, part-time, and/or as-needed basis.
Processes/Tools – Development and utilization of well-designed processes, procedures, and technology that will ensure cost-effective marketing and sales, engagement planning and execution, staff training and education, and profitability of the niche-practice area.
Education/Training – Creation of an ongoing and comprehensive, niche-specific skills development program, comprised of formal and informal learning opportunities balanced between self-study courses, webinars, seminars, and conferences.