So you want to specialize?

By Suzanne Yar Khan | June 6, 2014 | Last updated on June 6, 2014
3 min read

You don’t want to be average.

If you are, you’ll get lost in a sea of peers, which makes it hard to compete professionally and grow your business.

One way to stand out is to focus on a niche client base.

But conventional advisors won’t cut it with niche clients.

This journey requires you spend time exploring your options.

You can’t blindly turn to a niche, like the entertainment industry, simply because you want to see your name in lights.

Read: How to differentiate yourself

To succeed, you must do some soul-searching. Draw on personal experiences, and think about industries you’re already interested in. Perhaps your sister is a police officer, and you regularly attend charity events to show support.

This gives you an in. You’ll already have prospects, know the lingo and be familiar with their key financial concerns.

Or, if the niche is one you’re unfamiliar with, like an ethnicity with unique needs or attitudes about money, you’ll have to do some research. Immerse yourself in the culture and find common ground. Attend seminars to build your network. (Our feature this issue gives tips on attending non-financial events—see Court clients in the road building industry.)

Also, identify allied professionals, such as accountants, lawyers, insurance specialists and bankers, who target that group.

Read: 3 approaches to prospecting

Take this quiz

These questions will help you determine whether your niche provides a business opportunity.

  • Is the niche already saturated with other advisors?

    No +


    Yes: +

    Go back to the drawing board
  • Is the industry growing?

    No +

    Research some other industries

    Yes: +

  • Are there enough potential clients?

    No +

    Go back to the drawing board

    Yes: +

    Open a niche practice

Set up meet-and-greets. Discuss your expertise. Then send a follow-up e-newsletter exhibiting your knowledge. For instance, if you’re going after doctors, contact their centres of influence. Send an e-newsletter that includes some statistics about rising life expectancies. This creates the opportunity to explain how that longevity risk impacts doctors’ financial health.

Demonstrating some insights will spur those professionals to reach out to you. Marketing to the right lawyer can net you 10 referrals. That’s more efficient than chasing 10 prospects alone.

And, as your niche client base grows, get ready to cut some current clients loose because they’ll no longer fit.

You can’t serve everyone. Specializing requires focus, and those who don’t fit will be better off if you gently hand them to colleagues who will give them the attention they deserve.

This new approach can be worth it.

Read: How to talk to wealthy prospects

One advisor I spoke with took this path when he decided to specialize. It took him 15 years, but his business has now grown to $1 billion. That could be you.

4 tips to build a niche

  • Research the industry
  • Write a blog or send e-newsletters to demonstrate your expertise
  • Present at conferences or host seminars
  • Prospect through centres of influence

Suzanne Yar Khan is a Toronto-based financial writer.

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Suzanne Yar-Khan Suzanne Yar Khan headshot

Suzanne Yar Khan

Suzanne has worked with the team since 2012. She was a staff editor until 2017 and has since worked as a freelance financial editor and reporter.