Looking at myself in the mirror these days, the similarity to the old Crypt Keeper1 from the “Tales from the Crypt” comics1 is growing ever so close. But in this case, the comparison does justice to my newest installment of “Top 100 2024 Clues based on the 2023 Award Winners.’
After all, this edition is titled, Tales from the Niche, as the source of our clues.
There is an old saying, “It takes all kinds.” Some versions say,“It takes all kinds to make a world.” The interpretation rests on the fact that this world is made up of a variety of people, so you should not judge those who are different from you.
That old saying, and the related interpretation, are two of the driving forces in the Top 100 process. Judging people who are different is one thing, but judging them against the standard is precisely how the process works.
And when it comes to those standards, the word varieties in the interpretation of the old saying boils down to categories and subcategories within the Top 100 process.
This concept is nowhere better illustrated than regarding the Niche ProAdvisor Awards.
Let’s look at my quote regarding this year’s Niche categorical award recipient: “So, if you haven’t been able to identify it by now, Megan’s niche, her practice specialization, is non-profit organizations. It is her talents, expertise and experience in working with NPOs that made Megan the ‘best of the best’ in this ProAdvisor awards category for 2023.”
And with that said, let me interject, if you have never read the article I wrote on Oct. 6, 2022—Getting Ready for Top 100 – Niche Part 2—take a few moments before you read the rest of today’s feature. I don’t think I have written a more precise description of how the Top 100 works than in that article.
Returning to what’s essential concerning niche specialization, I cited two factors in the quote above:
Insightful Accountant asks several questions within the official application form that measure your experience relative to niche categorization.
One of those questions asks about your number of clients regarding 40 industry categories (shown below).
In evaluating a niche categorization, our algorithms contrast the highest frequency of a specific industry category against the cumulative number of clients across multiple categories. Those values then are plotted along the standard deviation to reflect each applicant’s “limited focus trigger.”
This year’s award winner scored in the 84th percentile measuring a singular category focus.
But how does Insightful Accountant determine the highest scoring niche?
Because the previous question contains applicant responses ranging from zero to more than 50, our algorithms contrast the highest frequency of each niche applicant’s category against the cumulative number of clients across multiple categories.
So, if a perfect score is “50 or greater” for a singular category, our applicant scored in the 92nd percentile to determine the specialization with the overall highest ranking.
All of this is a long way of saying the more specialized you are—with a devotion to an authentic niche practice limited to a singular industry focus—the more apt you are to be considered for the niche practice award.
Think of it this way: There are physicians who graduate medical school and become general practitioners, but some undergo specialized training to become surgeons. Then, some surgeons decide to specialize—perhaps in thoracic (chest) surgery. Yet a limited few thoracic surgeons decide to do a residency and sub-specialize in heart surgery.
Now which of those doctors do you want to do your mitral (heart) valve replacement surgery? A physician with a general medical practice or the heart surgeon.
Evaluating an applicant’s expertise is much more complicated. But niche category recognition begins with an affirmation on your part. We ask you early on to tell us about your QuickBooks Practice using a question like the one shown below.
If the answer you provide doesn’t mesh with the earlier limited focus factors, additional measures for expertise are simply removed from ranking considerations in this category.
In other words, if you tell us in this question you have a Niche Practice, but you indicate on the industrial categories question you have a handful of clients in each of 10 or 12 different (and unrelated) industries, our algorithm will rule you out as a Niche Specialist.
Past this point, if you make it into the category, your education, professional credentials, training history and certifications all contribute to measuring your expertise.
For example, applicants should be taking training that bolster their expertise in addition to general and required topics for credentialing.
Similarly, an applicant’s involvement with apps should primarily relate to their expertise, in contrast to apps having nothing to do with their specialization. That’s not to say all apps are bad, they are not. But app relatedness is better than unrelated apps when it comes to scoring factors.
To go back to our dog show analogy: If you are going to show with the Afghan Hounds, you better not be a Clumber Spaniel.
If you take the opportunity to read all of both Part 1 and Part 2 of the Niche series from last year, you will see how exceptional past Niche Award winners have been in not only representing their specialization, but the very breed that is a “Niche Practice ProAdvisor.”
Footnotes and Disclosures:
1 – Tales from the Crypt was a bi-monthly comic magazine published by EC Comics from 1950 to 1955. The comics were created by William Gaines and Al Feldstein. Of the three regularly featured characters, ‘The Crypt Keeper’ was most popular. In 2007, Papercutz began publishing a new series (in effect reprints) of the original comics
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