To segment or not to segment

The spectrum of services an accountant can provide is vast, and often there is little overlap in services required from one client to the next. With that in mind, it may seem prudent to diversify your firm to meet every need of your varied client base.

At face value, this strategy seems reasonable. A large toolbox can handle any job, right? The issue with this approach is that it can leave you, and your firm, spread too thin, negatively impacting your ability to deliver your services effectively.

An alternate approach to the diversity of the market is segmentation.

Simply put, segmentation is honing in on your ideal client profile and tailoring your services to meet the needs of those clients. In this way, you simplify the market. By focusing your energies on specific demographics and services, you give yourself an edge over your competition. You are able to set yourself apart as a specialist—what they do generally, you do best. This approach also simplifies the task of marketing yourself. Knowing exactly who you’re trying to reach is the first step in creating an effective marketing campaign.

The way in which you segment your firm is entirely up to you. Examples could be by geography, a vertical, or where a company is in its lifecycle. For example, if you were to focus on startups, you could create and advertise a “Setting up a New Company” package. By doing so, you are essentially picking your customers rather than vice versa.

The goal here is to play to your strengths. Limiting your customer base to specific segments allows you to standardize your processes and deliverables. In turn, having standardized products will increase your firm’s efficiency: by selling ready-made products to the exact demographic that they’re meant for, you save time, energy, and money. Furthermore, products tailored to specific clients can be sold at a premium, increasing profitability.

The question of whether or not to segment your firm may, at first, seem complicated, or that it requires too much time and effort to be worthwhile. The fact of the matter is that segmentation will simplify your work, allowing you to focus on delivering the services you want to provide to the clients you want to work with. It allows you to set yourself apart as a specialist in your markets. Segmentation requires less investment of time and energy than you might think and it pays back in dividends.

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