5 useful ways to future proof your advice firm in 2022
You may have been focusing on the immediate here and now during the pandemic, but you also need to look forward to the future.
So, get out your business to-do list and make sure you’ve got a handle on the following five key areas to ensure you’re set up for 2022 and far beyond.
1. Focus on the potential of your people
When you’re considering the future of your business, it’s crucial to think about the potential of your people.
As Jim Collins says in his book Good to Great, “get the right people on the bus”.
The most successful business owners think first about who, then what. So, if you want to build a great firm, make sure you have the right people on the team and in the key positions before you figure out where to go.
You should have some idea of how you want your firm to look over the next one, three, and five years. Gathering the right people to strive to meet your goals and build the firm into what you imagine it could be is the first and most important step to take.
Once you have your key players, focus on creating a collaborative environment and encourage everyone to engage and contribute ideas.
2. Check your channels of communication
Do your current methods of communication match the needs of future clients that you wish to attract to your firm?
Business starts and ends with communication, so make sure your methods show you are in touch with their issues and, as far as possible, can understand things from their point of view.
For example, Generation X (people between 41 and 56) and millennials (people between 26 and 40) will almost certainly have different expectations to clients who are retired, or close to retirement age.
Make sure you stand out by offering clients and prospective clients the opportunity to communicate with you via their preferred method, or methods. And leave them confident that you can help serve their needs and provide the type of financial planning that will enhance their lives and wealth over the long term.
Remember, the great wealth transfer has already started and as it continues over the next 30 years, you need to position your firm in the right light to attract new business from younger generations.
3. Take responsibility, not just for your business, but for the industry too
Financial services should be an attractive industry and it’s up to all of us to make sure it becomes even more so.
As a business leader focused on the future, as well as the present, you’re structuring your firm to meet standards of professionalism. By backing this up with the way you and your employees behave, you’ll be helping endorse and improve the way people view the industry as a whole.
Consider ways you can increase diversity and inclusivity to tackle elitism, or the perception of it. Remove your blinkers when you’re recruiting new talent and run your firm for all people, not just a privileged few.
4. Make technology non-negotiable
Digital innovation is a core business necessity and cannot be ignored. It’s impossible to focus on the future of your business without paying attention to the technology you’re using.
However they might choose to engage with advice, clients expect you to offer a technology proposition as standard. Many advice firms are leading the way with ground-breaking innovations and partnerships. Make sure you’re one of them.
Technology should be woven into the fabric of all that you do and play an integral part in:
- Attracting new clients
- Servicing current clients better
- Driving user engagement
- Reducing the time-consuming burden of regulation and paperwork
- Reducing internal costs
- Creating a stronger brand identity.
Tech and digital solutions have the potential to open a new world of low-cost investment possibilities with flexible portfolios and compelling user interfaces that are accessible and easy to use.
5. Make your business sustainable
Sustainability is a much-talked about topic that, by now, almost everyone agrees is important.
Taking a sustainable approach to business is right for the planet and our people. It’s also what many clients increasingly expect as standard and will be something that you’ll be judged on more as we all make changes in pursuit of a sustainable future.
Clients will not rely on us for ESG and sustainable options for their investable funds if we don’t stand up for these principles in our actions.
If your clients aren’t already asking you about ESG and whether you have a green approach to running your business, it won’t be long before they begin to take an interest.
Take steps to demonstrate you’re doing your bit for the planet. Applying for B Corp accreditation, for example, can provide a useful framework for making considerable steps in the right direction.