Why Finding Your Niche Creates More Success

niche-300x170LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for networking and learning. I recently connected with Maria Marsala, a business coach, speaker and former Wall Street trader, who has compiled some great advice on the benefits of finding your niche. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines.  

Maria received permission of each financial advisor and business owner who is quoted in this article.  If you enjoy this article, get more tips from Maria at www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com

Finding Your Niche Creates More Success by Maria Marsala

What are you doing to separate yourself from the competition? Several experts in the finance and business world believe that niching is one of the best strategies you can use to stand out and increase your profitability.

Now here’s a quote, one of my favorite business quotes, which I bet you’ve often heard or seen online. It’s MORE OFTEN miswritten or misquoted, so to set the quote right by my colleague, Bob Burg, here it is:

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

Bob Burg, entrepreneur and speaker, Burg.com

Read what other experts have to say about niching below.

“By building your brand, you’ll end up with zero competitors. Your firm will become singularly qualified to handle the complex financial needs of your target clientele.  The key is to realize that you can’t be all things to all people, but you can be all things to a small group of carefully chosen people who value your advice, service and relationship.  And it doesn’t take a large number of clients to be financially successful in this business.”

From Tested in the Trenches, by Ron Carson and Steve Sandusky, of Carson Wealth Management Group and Peak Advisor Alliance http://astore.amazon.com/eyb02-20

“If you want to begin finding your perfect niche as an adviser perhaps the first step is to think about the volunteer and community work that you have done – or thought about doing – over the years. The work that you have done for nothing – just to help other people or make the world a better place – will be the best guide for helping you zero in on what it is you truly love doing.  It is relatively straightforward after that to work out what you are great at…and working out what others will value and pay for.”

Tony Vidler, Adviser to the Advice Industry, New Zealand www.StrictlyBiz.co.nz

“Discovering your niche takes time and will be refined with time. Probably the very best place is to start with yourself. What are your passions? Your hobbies or pastimes?  Betcha you’re NOT the only one who likes ‘_____’.  Will narrowing your base of prospective future clients by working with a select group hurt?  On the contrary, how cool would it be if you’re known as the ‘Go-To’ financial advisor for a particular group of people.”

Marty Morua, Technology Advisor for RIAs http://t.co/bozuhl6ius

“…Simply defined (your target market) is the specific set of customers whose needs you are trying to meet. This is the audience, out of all who might hear your message, for whom you design your marketing program.   Instead of trying to sell your product or service to everyone in a market—everyone in your town, for example, or everyone who might see your television commercial—you should aim your message toward those who have the greatest potential need or desire for your product or service.”

Ivan R. Misner, Ph.D. & Robert Davis, From Business by Referral www.IvanMisner.com

“Focus on what you know. Understand the unique concerns and world of your niche.  I’ve seen former airplane pilots or senior executives from the nonprofit world develop businesses by focusing on those niches.  It’s all of a matter of knowing yourself and being cognizant of which groups of people with whom you’re likely to forge strong bonds.”

Mark Elzweig, President, Financial Advisor Executive Recruiting Firm http://elzweig.com/

“CEG Worldwide Research shows that a full 70 percent of top financial advisors—those earning at least $1 million annually—focus on a particular niche. In stark contrast, just 35.1 percent of financial advisors earning less than $150,000 a year have a niche focus.”

Jonathan Powell, Managing Director, CEG Worldwide research, http://www.cegworldwide.com/resources

“As an advisor, you have a choice: have high visibility in select target markets or low visibility in many markets. You can have a business where prospects flock to you OR you can continually chase prospects. You can be perceived as an expert OR be seen as just another investment guy or gal. You can have a business where marketing gets easier and more profitable every year OR you can continue to ’slug it out’ every year in the typical high cost, slow growth way.”

Mike Brizz, the CPAI, who created the Referral Mastery® System, http://www.referralmastery.com/

“There’s also a financial advantage to having a specific target client. When we look at other professions for best practices, there’s a strong correlation between pay and client profile. In legal firms, accounting firms, and doctors’ practices, specialists make more money than generalists do. Yet in financial services, advisors staunchly resist specializing. That’s often because they approach their work with a fear of scarcity.”

Matt Matrisian, The Power of Practice Management, www.AssetMark.com

“Create your firm’s niche on purpose. The alternative–taking any client who breathes–sabotages your productivity–and profits.”

Maria Marsala, Elevating Your Business, www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com

Some Thoughts from Me

As a human resources consultant with thirteen years in business, I have created a niche for The Lindenberger Group working with small to mid-sized business owners who are experiencing growing pains and need an HR consultant fast. And because I’ve worked for a private school and been a volunteer board member for SERV, YWCA of Trenton and my local school district, I’ve found that I can help nonprofit organizations and private schools, too.

If you like this blog, let me know and join the conversation! What is your niche?  Did your niche choose you or did you choose your niche? Tell us your niching story.

Posted in Blogging, Business, Entrepreneurship, HR, Learning, Profitability, The Lindenberger Group | Leave a comment

Small Business Can Realize Some Big Savings by Outsourcing

small-business-outsourcing-it

http://www.njbiz.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20150105/NJBIZ01/150109971/Small-business-can-realize-some-big-savings-by-outsourcing

Posted in Business, Economy, Employee relations, Entrepreneurship, HR, Outsourcing, The Lindenberger Group, Trends | Leave a comment

Developing Line Managers

Business-Growth-Success (1)http://design.hr.com/ExcellenceEssentials/TM/TalentManagement_DECEMBER2014/index.html#/6/

 

Posted in Career Corner, HR, Leadership, Learning, Mentoring, The Lindenberger Group, Training, Trends | Leave a comment

We Thank our Happy Clients!

Happy-ClientsThis time of year is a time for reflection and gratitude. At The Lindenberger Group, we know we couldn’t survive without our incredible customers. We’re so grateful that these amazing businesses have entrusted us. We want to give our customers the chance to succeed in a big way and are grateful they’re letting us come along for the ride!

We noticed that many of our customers are grateful for us as well, which makes us even more grateful!

With that in mind, here are some of our customer quotes for November:

We’ve certainly accomplished a lot so far and there is still much more to do.  I look forward to working on this together.

Terrific session!

I learned more in this workshop than I ever expected to. Thank you.  

You’ve done a great job … I am blown away by everything that we have accomplished in such a short time.

There isn’t anything I would change about what you are doing for us.

One of my key employees stopped me and told me that if I ever doubted that I made a good decision when I hired The Lindenberger Group a year ago, that all I needed to do was to walk around the office and see how happy and productive the team is today versus where we were a year ago.

 

Posted in HR, Learning, Live and Learn, Sales, The Lindenberger Group | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Women Networking with Women Pays Off

Women-networking_Photobucket_free-useIt’s been said that it all depends on who you know. And who you know might depend on how well and how often you network with others, even when there’s no immediate payoff.

I have been a member of a local women’s networking group for nine years and at the last meeting I attended I was thrilled to hear that it is expanding nationally. I was curious how this small group of women, who meet several times throughout the year in the Princeton, New Jersey area, had grown so I asked Tracy Fink, Marketing Director with CohnReznick, a top ten accounting and consulting firm in the US, (see photo below) and originator of the group, some questions.

Tracy

Me: How did you get involved in the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF)?

Tracy: The Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) was created by in 2005 to position CohnReznick’s women as leaders in the community as well as create relationships that could yield business. In the course of developing the program, we found that working women outside of our firm were also searching for ways to connect with women and share their challenges and experiences in a non-competitive and comfortable business environment. We solicited advice from women inside and outside the firm about the best ways to get started. We learned that there were not many networking groups that did not have a short-term lead generation expectation.  We realized that we were onto something different – building long term relationships based on trust while helping others succeed without the pressure.

Me: That’s interesting. I think that women network differently than men do and that building trust and friendships is a big part of how we approach networking. So why did you decide to put together a networking group just for women?

Tracy: The current business climate has required us to use more strategic and creative ways to develop business relationships and retain clients. Couple that with the career demands of a multigenerational workforce as well as increased awareness of women’s leadership. These factors have led to the creation of EWF, a client-facing, business development initiative for women leaders at the firm. Professional service firms, such as accounting and consulting, do business through building and deepening relationships and most new business comes from referrals. We recognized the need to create a networking group because our rising female leaders needed close and meaningful business relationships with referral sources. The Office Managing Partner was supportive and encouraged the other partners to share their contacts to help launch the group with the right people at the table: women decision makers and business owners.

Me: How have you grown the Executive Women’s Forum over the years?

Tracy: We focus on topics that resonate with women leaders such as leadership development, mentoring, managing expectations, mindfulness, the power of kindness, and image consulting. We work with presenters who are leaders in their respective fields. This has created a wave of interest in our other offices. We have successfully implemented the EWF model in six offices and we are on track for four more rollouts in the near future. Through the years the program has gained traction by highlighting successes and recognizing the rewards of long-term relationships. One of the events we are most proud of is the women’s golf event. We created this to take the intimidation out of playing golf as well as providing an opportunity for women to reap the business development benefits of a day on the golf course. The program includes a networking lunch, hands-on clinic, option to play nine holes and cocktails. It is an effective and fun networking event. We’ve been doing it for five years and in 2014 had more than 70 women attend – our largest one to date!

Me: I was thrilled to be invited to speak on the topic of mentoring, which was very relevant for your audience of women leaders wanting to grow their networks and careers. Tell me …what steps did you take to get the green light to bring the EWN to the national level?

Tracy: First I recognized and acknowledged my passion for women’s leadership. I then prepared a proposal which outlined the business case to show how a strategic and targeted women’s networking program can lead to business opportunities while developing and retaining clients. I presented the proposal to the Chief Marketing Officer and included the successes of the EWF. The program has a number of supporters who are key influencers within the firm who championed the idea of a national roll-out. During the process, I witnessed the power of internal networking to expand this program which would benefit me as well the firm.

Me: Great insight! How do you track success for the project? Can you relay one anecdotal success story?

Tracy: Most of the success of the program is anecdotal although we can trace approximately $400,000 of new business and $300,000 of open opportunities directly to the EWF. We track the ROO – Return on Opportunity – by measuring how many clients, as well as how many prospects and referral sources attend our event. We also track opportunities such as an invitation for a board position or a request for a follow up meeting with our industry groups.

A favorite success story involves Kim Brandley, an audit partner.  At that time, Kim was a new partner with the Firm and was focused on increasing her business development efforts.  A regular at the EWF meeting, Kim connected with a woman who was then Regional President of a large bank.  She was also on the board of The College of New Jersey, Kim’s alma mater.  There was an open position on the foundation board and the banker, who knew Kim from their interactions at the EWF, invited her to explore the board opportunity.  Kim eventually joined the board and was then able to create a network with the other board members leading to business referrals and other professional opportunities for her as well as the Firm.

Me: Wow what a great success story! What advice do you have for women about how to use networking to enhance their careers / business?

Tracy:  Find a way to build and deepen authentic as well as strategic relationships both inside and outside your organization. Keep in mind that it is quality, not quantity that matters when developing relationships as you cannot be all things to all people. On a regular basis, find ways to help people without necessarily having an immediate benefit to you. Use your power and influence for good. As a “connector”, you will be rewarded in ways that you will be surprised.

Me: I agree. Networking is like gardening … you have to plant the seeds, tend the garden, and patiently wait to see where your connections lead you. Is there anything else you want to say on the topic?

Tracy: I’m incredibly grateful to work for an organization that recognizes the value of women initiatives and the importance of positioning our women as leaders in the community. We have a strong internal women’s network, WomenCan, and I am so pleased that the EWF complements the effort.

Me: Awesome! Thanks, Tracy, for answering my questions. I hope that those of you reading this blog can use some of these great ideas to jump start your own networking group.

Want to learn more? Contact Tracy Fink at tracy.fink@cohnreznick.com or 732-380-8677 or Judy Lindenberger at info@lindenbergergroup.com or 609-730-1049.

Posted in Career Corner, Leadership, Learning, Live and Learn, Mentoring, Networking, Sales, The Lindenberger Group | Leave a comment