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These days it’s increasingly difficult to stand out in the professional services sector when more and more firms appear to be offering the same (or similar) services.

One way to make your business really stand out is to develop a niche. This entails laser-focussing your efforts on a specific area of expertise rather than settling on a one-size-fits-all approach. This specificity of service then allows you to pull ahead of your competitors, establishing you as a leader in your chosen niche.

Choosing your niche

Once you’ve identified your niche market, it will become much easier to identify and target relevant clients. Then you’ll be able to start building trust and positioning yourself as an authority within your chosen area until you have gathered enough experience, clients, and testimonials to be seen as an expert. Developing this expert status serves as another dividing line between you and your closest competitors, giving you the edge when it comes to specialised knowledge.

So how do you find your niche to begin with? The first step is research. Is there a supply-and-demand gap in the industry that you can capitalise on? How many other businesses currently inhabit your potential niche? By asking and answering these basic questions, you can begin to hone your strategy and steer yourself in the most effective direction.

Some further factors to consider when choosing a niche:

  • Clients: Review your current client database and look at the areas in which you have the most clients and, in turn, add the most value. Could this be an area to focus on? Is this the area where you feel you can differentiate, bringing an alternative offering compared to your competitors?
  • Who will take the lead: Ensure that you have someone internally who can take the lead and focus their efforts on managing your niche.
  • Cross-selling and opportunities for collaboration: Research other companies and firms who share your target audience and identify potential collaboration and cross-selling opportunities.
  • Potential growth: Build a substantial knowledge base around your niche area, ensuring that there is scope for growth before progressing.
  • Competition: Research your competitors. First of all, do you have any? If so, how many are there? Is there a standout competitor dominating your niche? Before delving into any new area of business, you need to be sure that there’s a gap in the market or that you’re offering something different enough from your competitors to justify your efforts. By doing this, you can avoid potential barriers and pitfalls from the outset.

Moving forward

Only after you’ve worked through these considerations should you start pursuing your niche. After all, the nature of niches is that they’re very specific and highly targeted, so it’s imperative to develop a deep and solid understanding of yours before moving forward.

Clients would rather seek advice on their issues from a firm with specialised expertise than one offering an all-round, jack-of-all-trades approach. So, finding and exploring a niche can be an effective way of expanding your client base or winning larger, more lucrative clients.

To learn more, get in touch with the team at Cal Partners, a marketing agency and business development consultants for professional services firms.

About the author

Rachel Wright

Rachel is Head of Marketing Operations at Cal Partners and is a Chartered Marketer. She began working in marketing in 2007 and has a particular specialism in the professional services sector.

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services