With a seismic shift in the financial planning sector currently in full swing, there are two choices. Complain bitterly about the loss of the good old days, or grab the bull by the horns and seize the opportunity to reinvigorate your business.
By now it should have become apparent to all that a ‘head in the sand’ approach to the changes being brought about by the FoFA reforms simply will not work. The much hoped for (by some) change of government or high court challenge to take everything back to the way it was is clearly not going to occur.
Complacency is no longer an option, and we have found that those business owners who were already undergoing changes to the way they do business before FoFA entered our lexicon are reaping the benefits. They did not need new legislation to evolve their business to a point where they could grow and prosper whatever the outcomes of the reforms.
These advisers had already acknowledged that the old business model was broken and have been using their entrepreneurial chutzpah to ensure continued success.
For those who choose not to engage a business coach to help them…our condolences. Well no, in all seriousness, whilst we know that our services are not appropriate for every business, we also know from experience that often the reasons why people don’t seek help are unfounded, and we often hear comments such as “this is great, I only wish we engaged you earlier – imagine just how further ahead we’d be!”.
Nonetheless, we thought we’d share our top five pro-active business measures you can take to stay ahead of the game:
1. If you haven’t already, schedule some time out, take your key thinkers, and take a good hard honest look at how you run your business. Pull apart your business model and your offering, and put it back together again in a way that will achieve what you want. A great place to start is to reconnect with your WHY – why are you an adviser, and why are you running your business? Review your Vision, and reflect upon how you do things in that context.
When you’ve done that, it will be easier to identify areas in your business that need to evolve, and consider how you do things in light of the current market and legislative environment, as well as what your crystal ball tells you the future may bring.
2. Identify who you really want to work with. Define your key target client markets over the next 3-5 years, and direct your attention towards attracting and servicing them. A good place to start is to think first about your existing networks and centres of influence to determine where you may already have an entree –
- Make sure that the clients in this space have a need for your skills, and the ability to afford your services
- Make sure that you target the sorts of businesses you enjoy working with, and
- That you have the technical expertise to help them.
When you’ve got a clear picture of who you’re looking for, create your marketing plan to go out and find more of them!
3. Review your product and service suite to ensure that the tools you are using will suit tomorrow’s market – not yesterday’s. There are some fantastic advancements in technology and products (especially in the area of administration) and if you haven’t looked lately at what’s available, you may be missing out on opportunities to add value to your clients and reduce the fees they are paying to manage their affairs.
4. If you haven’t already, ensure your pricing model is structured in a way that will generate the profits you seek, be compliant with regulations and be suitable to the clients you serve and the service you provide. This is such a critical area of your business to get right, and definitely not one to cut corners with.
A pricing model is what underpins an entire business model, get it wrong and you’ll be constantly chasing your tail and experiencing more stress than anyone needs. We’ve said it before and will say it again, there’s no excuse to do this the hard way – there are a heap of resources that can help you at various price points and engagement levels – all you have to do is ask! Part of the process of getting your pricing right will include refining your client on-boarding process, and the ongoing service offer that you provide.
5. Determine the activities that you want your team to be doing to achieve your vision. Consider who will undertake the evolution tasks (working on the business) in addition to the activity targets required to service your clients (working in the business).
Depending on how your team is structured and how big it is, the tasks don’t need to be allocated completely to the one individual. A trap for new players is to assume that the business owner is the one who needs to fulfil all of the evolution activities. When you have determined who should be doing what activities, get very clear on the time frames and the quantity, and keep your staff accountable for their objectives. ‘Keep reviews up to date’ is nowhere near as powerful as ‘Ensure that 10 client reviews per month are completed.’ Of course, after defining the activities effectively, you need to close the loop by reviewing everyone’s progress to target at least once a month, to stay accountable to the commitments you’ve all made.
It is through thinking outside the box and looking to new ways of doing business that you can help your business thrive. Those who see two moves ahead will always outperform those who wait for the kick up the proverbial or, worse still, maintain their impersonation of an ostrich