LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for networking and learning. I recently connected with Maria Marsala, a business coach, speaker and former Wall Street trader, who has compiled some great advice on the benefits of finding your niche. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines.  

Maria received permission of each financial advisor and business owner who is quoted in this article.  If you enjoy this article, get more tips from Maria at

Finding Your Niche Creates More Success by Maria Marsala

What are you doing to separate yourself from the competition? Several experts in the finance and business world believe that niching is one of the best strategies you can use to stand out and increase your profitability.

Now here’s a quote, one of my favorite business quotes, which I bet you’ve often heard or seen online. It’s MORE OFTEN miswritten or misquoted, so to set the quote right by my colleague, Bob Burg, here it is:

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

Bob Burg, entrepreneur and speaker,

Read what other experts have to say about niching below.

“By building your brand, you’ll end up with zero competitors. Your firm will become singularly qualified to handle the complex financial needs of your target clientele.  The key is to realize that you can’t be all things to all people, but you can be all things to a small group of carefully chosen people who value your advice, service and relationship.  And it doesn’t take a large number of clients to be financially successful in this business.”

From Tested in the Trenches, by Ron Carson and Steve Sandusky, of Carson Wealth Management Group and Peak Advisor Alliance

“If you want to begin finding your perfect niche as an adviser perhaps the first step is to think about the volunteer and community work that you have done – or thought about doing – over the years. The work that you have done for nothing – just to help other people or make the world a better place – will be the best guide for helping you zero in on what it is you truly love doing.  It is relatively straightforward after that to work out what you are great at…and working out what others will value and pay for.”

Tony Vidler, Adviser to the Advice Industry, New Zealand

“Discovering your niche takes time and will be refined with time. Probably the very best place is to start with yourself. What are your passions? Your hobbies or pastimes?  Betcha you’re NOT the only one who likes ‘_____’.  Will narrowing your base of prospective future clients by working with a select group hurt?  On the contrary, how cool would it be if you’re known as the ‘Go-To’ financial advisor for a particular group of people.”

Marty Morua, Technology Advisor for RIAs

“…Simply defined (your target market) is the specific set of customers whose needs you are trying to meet. This is the audience, out of all who might hear your message, for whom you design your marketing program.   Instead of trying to sell your product or service to everyone in a market—everyone in your town, for example, or everyone who might see your television commercial—you should aim your message toward those who have the greatest potential need or desire for your product or service.”

Ivan R. Misner, Ph.D. & Robert Davis, From Business by Referral

“Focus on what you know. Understand the unique concerns and world of your niche.  I’ve seen former airplane pilots or senior executives from the nonprofit world develop businesses by focusing on those niches.  It’s all of a matter of knowing yourself and being cognizant of which groups of people with whom you’re likely to forge strong bonds.”

Mark Elzweig, President, Financial Advisor Executive Recruiting Firm

“CEG Worldwide Research shows that a full 70 percent of top financial advisors—those earning at least $1 million annually—focus on a particular niche. In stark contrast, just 35.1 percent of financial advisors earning less than $150,000 a year have a niche focus.”

Jonathan Powell, Managing Director, CEG Worldwide research,

“As an advisor, you have a choice: have high visibility in select target markets or low visibility in many markets. You can have a business where prospects flock to you OR you can continually chase prospects. You can be perceived as an expert OR be seen as just another investment guy or gal. You can have a business where marketing gets easier and more profitable every year OR you can continue to ’slug it out’ every year in the typical high cost, slow growth way.”

Mike Brizz, the CPAI, who created the Referral Mastery® System,

“There’s also a financial advantage to having a specific target client. When we look at other professions for best practices, there’s a strong correlation between pay and client profile. In legal firms, accounting firms, and doctors’ practices, specialists make more money than generalists do. Yet in financial services, advisors staunchly resist specializing. That’s often because they approach their work with a fear of scarcity.”

Matt Matrisian, The Power of Practice Management,

“Create your firm’s niche on purpose. The alternative–taking any client who breathes–sabotages your productivity–and profits.”

Maria Marsala, Elevating Your Business,

Some Thoughts from Me

As a human resources consultant with thirteen years in business, I have created a niche for The Lindenberger Group working with small to mid-sized business owners who are experiencing growing pains and need an HR consultant fast. And because I’ve worked for a private school and been a volunteer board member for SERV, YWCA of Trenton and my local school district, I’ve found that I can help nonprofit organizations and private schools, too.

If you like this blog, let me know and join the conversation! What is your niche?  Did your niche choose you or did you choose your niche? Tell us your niching story.