There’s never been
a better time to go
prospecting in new niches
There’s a con;uence emerging for those ;rms looking to explore new niches, as shifts in the economy, regulations, competition and
technology are creating opportunities.
In fact, those “four lightning bolts of
change,” as consultant Gale Crosley, president of Crosley + Co., describes them, have
created an environment that couldn’t be better for a niche business. ;e key, however, is
understanding and embracing the commitment required to make it a success.
“We are facing one of the most exciting futures that has so much potential for niches,
it’s almost unlimited,” said Crosley.
Whether it be international work, succession planning, health care, state and local tax
service, or another type of niche business altogether, Crosley and many other accounting
professionals believe that now is an opportune time for ;rms to develop a di;erentiating service o;ering. But before running out
and launching a new service line or catering
to a new buyer group, a ;rm must ;rst know
how to go about ;nding a strategy.
BY ANTOINETTE ALEXANDER
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
Crosley, whose consulting services include
helping ;rms develop niches, said that the
;rst step is to take some cues from Columbo.
;at’s right, the rumpled detective played
by Peter Falk in the 1970s TV series of the
Go out and “be Columbo” to ;nd the hot
spots and look at the market from the outside
in, said Crosley.
Obviously, she is using Columbo to illustrate a point, but the point is nonetheless an
important one. When exploring a new niche,
a ;rm must ;rst analyze its current revenue
sources to understand how much comes
from industries and how much from services,
and to see where they correlate. And look at
each industry buyer group or market from the
outside in. In other words, get into the market
and begin the “detective” work.
According to Crosley, look for:
Services to develop, package and drive
into the market (do not make assumptions
about what a client wants).
Channels of distribution: How do you
;nd buyers and how do they ;nd you?
In the past year, New York accounting ;rm
Holtz Rubenstein Reminick found its own
compelling messages to bring to market and
launched a medical doctor practice group,
a state and local tax services group and a
China group. While all three initiatives are