Part of the reality of running a business is that not everybody is going to value your services. No matter how good you are at what you do, and no matter how much money somebody owes to the IRS, there are simply going to be numerous people that straight up do not want what you offer.
And that’s perfectly OK.
The worst thing to try and be in business is “all things to all people“. It’s just impossible, and you’ll go crazy trying to do so.
This newsletter is a perfect example. While my readers include attorneys, CPA’s, Enrolled Agents, bookkeepers, RTRPs, financial planners, and several other professional fields, I write to one commonality within that larger group: Tax services. I don’t try to offer advice for the lawyers that read these articles about how to get personal injury clients — it’s all about marketing tax services, nothing else. Even more specifically, I’m talking about collections representation the vast majority of the time.
What does this have to do with Maui? Simple: Maui is a tropical island, and therefore sells a particular type of experience to visitors. Maui is a big enough island to have roads and two airports, which means tourist traffic, but not big enough for developers to build everything and anything. Thus, Maui sells it’s particular brand of vacation, and it doesn’t involve Mickey Mouse.
Maui does have resort destinations, and they tend to be grouped together in a couple of particular clusters. The rest of the island, however, is an adventure seeker’s paradise. From speaking to other visitors, Maui’s resorts offer more seclusion than resorts at some of the other islands. But beyond that, there is a tremendous amount of mountainous terrain, rain forest, and outright wilderness on this small island. Remember, it only has 150,000 people living there.
Maui is a destination for sport fishermen, surfers, kitesurfers, parasailers, and other adventure types. Maui has less of a tourist infrastructure than Oahu or the Big Island, and has some truly freaky cliff-hugging roads with many blind one-way spots. The typical American city driver would be ill advised to drive on some of these roads, to be perfectly honest.
The people that visit Maui choose to do so for a very specific reason. In other words, for the average person to visit Maui, the island must possess something that people truly want. I chose Maui to intentionally avoid the bigger tourist crowds of Oahu and the Big Island – that was the prime motivator for me to pick Maui over any of the other Hawaiian islands.
You need to do the same thing in your tax practice. This is why I encourage tax professionals to become a specialist in a small number of niches, similar to how I place a particular focus on 2290 tax cases and a couple other narrow niches. There are specific reasons for me choosing the niches that I do, and you should look for reasons to do the same.
Also realize that you’re not going to please evrerybody, and you shouldn’t want to. You’re not going to close every deal, and not everybody is going to like you. In the same vein, I would encourage you to not offer every tax and accounting service under the sun. Set your practice up for maximum success by offering only the complementary services that you can truly deliver with maximum expertise and efficiency.
In our upcoming Tax Practice Success Automation webinar series, we’ll spend time discussing how automate your marketing into specific niches, as well as how to look at things in your practice, including entire service offerings, to identify things to eliminate.
Streamlining your practice to operate within your core competencies and within specific niches not only allows you to create a more efficient practice, but also a tax firm that can charge higher fees for the services you do offer. A specialist always gets paid more than a generalist.
The question I want to leave you with today is this: What do you offer that is unique? You must be able to answer this question, in order to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you can’t differentiate yourself, then you are just another tax practitioner, no different from any other except perhaps for the fees you charge. If you don’t have a USP, a competitive difference, then you are a commodity.
Being a commodity as a licensed service professional is the last thing you ever want to be.