Narrowing the focus of your financial advisory practice can have many benefits, says Michele Soregaroli, co-founder of Transformation Catalyst in Vancouver. Choosing a focus for your business increases the likelihood that you will develop an area of expertise, build a community and receive referrals from your network.

Some financial advisors try to build a niche based on an occupational category, such as doctors or accountants. But such forms of specialization can limit your relationships to clients. Soregaroli advises that you consider issues such as values, interests, personality and lifestyle as the basis for a niche.

“It’s very common for an advisor to want to pursue a certain niche that may, in their opinion, not yet be saturated, such as plumbers,” Soregaroli says. “If the advisor doesn’t easily relate to plumbers and doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about that industry, it may not be a great fit and they’ll have more trouble penetrating that market.”

Here are three tips for identifying and developing your niche:

1. Define your values
When choosing a niche, the first thing you should take into consideration is which type of values you would like to share with your clients, Soregaroli says. For example, some advisors develop a niche advising divorced female clients, but they often overlook that there are various values among divorced women.

An example of a niche aligned with personal values, she says, would be an advisor living an eco-friendly lifestyle who chooses to work with construction companies that are LEED-certified or adopt a sustainable approach to construction.

2. Align your values with your practice
Look at ways you can associate your values with your business offering. Doing so will show your integrity and demonstrate that your niche is more than just a marketing tactic. For example, if you’re developing a “green” niche, Soregaroli says, you might start using recycled office products or invest with only responsible investment companies or funds.

“You also want to align yourself with more associations or groups that will be playing in the same sandbox as your potential clients,” Soregaroli says. As a bonus, you will be likely to develop a rapport more quickly with people in these groups.

3. Develop an expertise
Take your general interest to the next level by studying common practices within your niche. For example, you could learn what it takes to be LEED-certified, or how companies can benefit from developing sustainable office practices.

“By broadening your perspective,” Soregaroli says, “you’re more likely to expand your network.”