When studying economics—or marketing for that matter—one of the first concepts that you probably explored was that of “needs” versus “wants.” In the simplest terms, it’s the difference between a nice-to-have and a must-have.

Each day, small business owners must make countless decisions about products, services, and information that are available to them, determining whether each is a want or a need to help their business prosper and grow. In over two decades of working with small business owners, I have learned again and again that access to insights about their specific industry vertical is absolute must-have for them. But their challenge is finding the time or resources to gather such information for themselves.

That’s where you come in. I know you have a ton of to-dos on your plate, but trust me on this: The industry knowledge that you are able to obtain and share with your small business clients is invaluable to them. It also allows you to provide them with more tailored guidance, which makes you an indispensable asset to them too.

3 justifications for doing your industry research

Here are three reasons why it’s well-worth putting, “Do industry research” at the top of your pre-call to-do list.

1.  Vertical-oriented products are superior to general ones.

“One size fits all” is rarely the best option, in life or in business.

There are countless small businesses out there that were started to sell to just one specific industry: software for architects, apps for restaurants, sales leads tools for ecommerce companies, to name just a few examples. The reason there are so many successful niche companies like this is because they are able to effectively cater to industries’ unique needs—addressing their pain points and taking advantage of opportunities for improvement.

This is a critical concept for generalists, like bankers or accountants, to understand. If you’re a generalist who sells to multiple industries, you need to be knowledgeable about your client’s unique industry because you know that small business owners naturally gravitate to products that are segmented to them.

2. Business owners have told us they want it over and over. 

According to Barlow Research, 70 percent of small business owners ($100k – <$10M in sales) say that having a banker who understands their company’s objectives is a top priority. And in a survey conducted by Accounting Today, 78 percent of respondents said the most important attribute of an accountant is that they are “a trusted advisor to me.”

Such research confirms that small business owners are clamoring for advice that is customized to them and their industry’s needs. They want to work with business consultants and advisers who are knowledgeable about the challenges they face and the trends that are driving growth. They want someone who can provide them with insights into what others within their industry are doing—what’s working and what isn’t.

3. A small business’s financial needs are specific. 

A childcare center receives much of its revenue in the late summer and early fall; a restaurant receives the bulk of its revenue in cash in the summertime; road construction companies submit bids to the government and when awarded a contract, get paid slowly.

Cash ebbs and flows differently for various industries, and companies manage their working capital in their own unique way too. Because there are so many different segments, it’s beneficial to have a feel for a business owner’s specific industry before you meet with him or her. This will give you a better perspective on the cash management or accounting challenges they may be facing, allowing you to offer more useful advice.

Give ‘em what they need

Industry knowledge isn’t a want; it’s a definitive need for small business owners. And like most humans, business owners are hardwired to look for solutions that are the best fit for their unique situation.

With key insights on nearly 400 industry verticals, 325 local economic reports, and a plethora of other useful tools to provide you an edge, Vertical IQ can help professionals like accountants, bankers, small business consultants, business owners, and advisers to quickly attain knowledge about their clients’ and prospects’ industries. In as little as 5 minutes, you’ll be up to speed on things like the latest trends that others in the industry are capitalizing on, as well as potential pitfalls to watch out for. That’s information business owners want AND need!

Ready to get started? 

By using the industry intelligence available on Vertical IQ, you have the opportunity to become a “trusted advisor,” providing insights on specific tactics to grow a client’s business, and how to avoid the complex challenges others in their industry are facing. Contact us today for more information about Vertical IQ or for a demo!