One of the ways that you can help your financial advisory business become more efficient is by finding a target client market.
“[A niche] just makes your process in dealing with clients very streamlined,” says April-Lynn Levitt, a coach with the Personal Coach in Calgary. In fact, when dealing with the same kind of clients, you will know what solutions they need, what questions to ask and the challenges they are facing.
Here are six questions to ask yourself when you’re in the process of discovering a target market for your business:
1. What are you passionate about?
What you enjoy doing outside the office could help you develop your target market.
You might find a niche in a past career or a hobby, says Levitt. For example, there are many former athletes who turn to sports to find clients.
As well, keep your past experience with charities and other organizations in mind when searching for a target market.
2. Who are your favourite clients?
Take a close look at your book of business to see if you already service a niche market.
Examine your current client list and ask yourself: “Who do I love working with?” says Levitt. Who are you happiest to see when their names pop up in your appointment book? Who do feel you are helping the most to reach their goals?
3. How creatively are you thinking?
Don’t be afraid to get creative when searching for a target market.
A target market doesn’t have to be a specific demographic, says Sandra Bekhor, president of Toronto-based Bekhor Management, adding that the target market can also be developed based on how your business is structured or how you market your practice.
For example, you might organize your business as a “one-stop shop” in which clients can come to you for their financial needs and easily access other professionals such as an accountant or lawyer, she says.
Or, you could reach out to clients via the Internet with a strong search engine optimization strategy for your website or through social media sites such as LinkedIn.
4. What is your expertise?
If your colleagues constantly seek your advice about a topic, it may be an opportunity for your business.
For example, if colleagues constantly seek your expert opinion on individual pension plans that could be a niche for you, says Levitt.
5. Are you really interested?
Make sure you are truly interested in a target market once you select one.
Sometimes, advisors hear about the next big trend or underserved demographic and rush out to form a niche in that area, says Levitt. This can become problematic because you won’t have the knowledge or interest to best serve those clients.
6. Where are the gaps?
Once you have found a target market, go further and find out exactly how you can work with that group.
Research advisory practices in your neighbourhood online and look for gaps in services, says Bekhor. Decide whether you are going to keep your services broad because no one else is working with your niche or if you will become very specialized to cater to a specific and underserved group.