How to identify your niche

By Ravi Samalad |  23-04-21 | 
 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

When advisers or mutual fund distributors start their practice, they typically onboard all types of clients to sustain and reach a breakeven. But as markets, business and client expectations evolve, advisers/MFDs tend to narrow down their focus by catering to a segment of the market.

Having a sharper focus on catering to a select client base from a specific background is gaining ground in India. Many advisers in developed markets are already practicing niche-based advisory. Vivek Rege, founder of V R Wealth Advisers, in a webinar with Morningstar last week shared how he has built a niche around HNI and ultra HNI clients working in listed companies. Here are some excerpts from this webinar.

Five elements of a niche advisory practice:

  1. Professionally and personally satisfying practice
  2. High profit potential
  3. Solves a practical need
  4. Strong market demand
  5. Minimal competition

How do you go about selecting your niche? There are two ways to segment your market. We have built our practice by segmenting based on psychographics.

Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Education

Psychographics

  • Personality traits
  • Lifestyle
  • Attitude
  • Values
  • Interest
  • Beliefs

Each person’s beliefs and value system are different. Look for talking with a homogenous set of audience who share a common interest. This makes it comparatively easy. That said, all doctors may not have similar beliefs and thought process. So it does not make sense to entirely focus your practice on occupation. Similarly, there is no point in focusing on advising people from one location, say the Middle East. Defining ideal clients based on psychographics helps in segmenting your clients.

Here’s how we segment our clients:

Learn to say no

The first principle starts with you. How unique you are. What kind of market do you want to serve? It can be answered only by you. Sometimes, you are dragged into various directions. Never replicate any other advisers model. You are unique and your business has to reflect that. This will help you to say no. As a result, you rule out the possibilities and narrow down the choice you make.

Find a purpose

It has to do with purpose. It is a problem you are solving. It has to be identified. It then becomes a purpose. What is that you want to serve and how you want to serve it. I started my practice in 2003. The purpose is the same. Except now, I’m able to articulate it better. This helped me focus on one thing. Purpose has a powerful role in creating niche advisory. The result is a by-product of what you do. The path should be the purpose. It has to align with you.

Discover Yourself

As you keep discovering yourself, understand and reflect on what energises and empowers you. Sometimes, you get disempowered. In certain actions, your energy just quadruples. That is discovery. Discover yourself. Do a value test. Understand your values. Try to find people who have similar values as yours. Hiring a personal coach helps. Unless you know yourself better if you can’t make an impact outside. There is nothing more precious than discovering yourself.

Solve a problem

We are dealing with people as clients and with our team. The client implements and shares feedback. The client pays us for helping them. It is not philanthropy. Have a business model. You have to earn decent money, with a profit margin, with minimal competition which helps you to enjoy and empower yourself. What is the problem you are trying to solve and for whom? The client has to pay you for that service.  For instance, if you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. If your business model needs to be successful you need to be solving an ongoing problem.

Create client profile

Create a profile of clients you are catering to. We have made mistakes. Sometimes, we have said no to clients who didn’t fit our wavelength. Don’t force-fit clients. The test of the practice is the taste. Create something which you like doing. Sometimes, we are in a dilemma whether to take or not take the client. There is no simple answer to that. You get to know the client better after you start engaging with them.

What we do

We never conduct mass investor awareness programs in societies or other places because the audience is heterogeneous. We don’t conduct webinars to acquire clients. Our clients bring new clients. We have a 100% client conversion rate. The reference of clients can go to any net worth. We don’t do social media advertisements. It is an evolving journey.

We focus on onboarding clients that match my personality traits, attitude, values and beliefs.

“Chose the niche that you enjoy, where you can excel, and stand a chance of becoming an acknowledged leader.” – Richard Koch

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