Is it time to review your brokerage firm’s business strategy?
2021 saw advisors face a significant regime change, and this came with a strong emphasis on trust, good conduct, rigorous record keeping and good results for clients. With this goal in mind, many advisers have had to completely rethink their business, and with nearly ten months of operation in the new regime to reflect on, it will be a good opportunity to identify what worked, what didn’t. has not and what still needs to be improved.
When it comes to business strategy, business expert and coach John Spence says there are several key elements in being considered a “trusted advisor” – one of the most important aspects of the new regime. .
âFor me there are a lot of levels to being a trusted advisor,â Spence said. âBasically you have to know what you are doing. You need to understand what’s going on in the market, what new products and services are, what is generally happening in the business world in New Zealand and around the world, and have good business acumen.
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âThe second level is you have to be really good at understanding your own industry,â he explained. âWhat types of technological trends are emerging, what types of tools are coming to the market? Where do you see the changes and changes happening in the industry? If these changes are two or three years away, can you start preparing today? “
âThe third level is being able to understand your competition, just so that you can position yourself appropriately. You have to understand what you are competing with, how your competitors rate things, what products and services they offer – discounts, promotions, whatever it is. If there is something you can do, or something you can do that they cannot do, then this is an area to focus on for competitive advantage.
The business plan is central to most brokerage firms’ planning, which experts believe is important to review at least annually – although it is important to check your goals more regularly.
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When it comes to standing out in a crowded market, Spence noted that it’s important to look at your main offering and think about what you’re doing that is unique and hard to replace in the market. He acknowledged that specialist advisers might find this aspect more difficult – however, he said using a strong brand, data and team is a good place to start.
âI believe there are four key elements to focus on to build a good strategy,â said Spence. âFirst, what can you bring to the market that is unique and compelling, and second, will your target customer be willing to pay for it? Number three is tough in the counseling business, but it’s about bringing in something that’s hard or impossible to copy. And number four [is] something that you can always deliver with excellence.
“There are only a few things that meet all of these criteria, and the first is talent,” he explained. “Are you really good at what you do and are your employees good at what you do?” Then there’s having a culture that engages your people, your customer relationships, and your brand. If you have a very famous brand or partner, you can gain the credibility of that trusted partner, or build a personal brand if you are a solo advisor.
âFinally, you have data. Most organizations sit on a gold mine of data and don’t use it appropriately, or maybe you have unique and proprietary data that could give you a competitive advantage.