A customer story of how niching can dramatically scale your business 7-fold (from £163k to £1.1m)

niching your agency

Cityzen is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary design practice that works with commercial contractors and property developers to bring designs to life.

They contacted Da Costa Coaching after listening to Rob gave a talk at a local networking event.  They had worked with a coach previously but saw that Rob’s service-based agency experience together with his no-nonsense and pragmatic approach would be a good fit for Cityzen.

Charlotte Smith Director commented “From our experience, we saw that many coaching firms tend to have a predefined approach that they use with all clients, regardless of need or size. The first thing Rob said when I met him was “I’ll listen to you and address the underlying needs of the business”. True to his word, Rob did listen and adapted his tools and processes to fit our needs. For us, he has been a coach, mentor, trainer and at times, a shoulder to cry on! He has created accountability to help drive our practice forward.

One of the conundrums Cityzen faced was trying to service both domestic and commercial clients.  This meant within one working day they could be designing homeless housing for a Council and a domestic loft conversion.  It was clear that the domestic clients needed a lot more account management (hand holding, explanations, more frequent communications and so on) than the commercial clients, who had a better understanding of the process and also trusted fellow professionals to get on and deliver their work.

The coaching process led many discussions around identifying ideal target customers (customer personas), enabling Cityzen to define and focus on profitable and more enjoyable clients. But it soon became obvious there was a need to niche. Like many companies, there initially was a reticence because of the potential for lost business.  After spending time researching the market and analysing time spent on customer work, it became apparent that (a) The commercial market was plenty big enough for Cityzen to solely focus on (b) the way to engage with this sector was by building face to face relationships and (c) the domestic clients took approximately double the amount of account management and as a consequence, were often unprofitable.

Faced with this information, Cityzen committed 100% to niching their agency to focus on commercial clients only.  This meant

  • Changing the focus and wording on their website
  • Focusing 100% of marketing efforts on commercial clients
  • Turning down domestic opportunities

Fast forward 6-months and the results are startling:

The whole of 2018-19: Offering professional services to B2B and B2C, delivering construction-focused design

  • 30 enquiries
  • Potential £163K income.
  • Average enquiry value of £5K

2019-20:  delivering the same package but niched to B2B only (developers, concept architects, contractors)

  • 16 enquiries in the first 12 weeks of the year
  • Potential £1.1m income (so far only, only 3 months into the financial year!)
  • Average enquiry value of £68K

Charlotte Smith, Director, concluded “It took, what felt like, some bravery at the time to turn our backs on domestic work but the strategy we worked through with Rob has put us in the strongest position we have ever been in.  Not only that, but the work we are being invited to do is more aligned with our values, and fulfilling for our team.

This is a great story of focusing on a niche and using the intersection of where you get the best results, where you are most profitable and where your passion lies, to work out what your niche should be.  It also shows the power having a clear niche will have on your bottom line (from £163k to £1.1m).

Rob Da Costa

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