How to future-proof your advice firm in 2023
Looking back over the last three years, the idea of future-proofing your business is almost laughable. Who could possibly have predicted the Covid pandemic and how that would affect business for years to come?
Even now, predicting what might happen next seems crazy – especially from an economic point of view, with the Bank of England warning that we could be in the longest period of recession since records began.
That said, there are ways to anticipate the future and develop ways to minimise potential stress and maximise business opportunities. So, read on for five things you can do to help future-proof your business in 2023.
1. Make sure your (digital) customer experience excels
When did you last evaluate your business through the eyes of your clients?
These days, many of your clients are likely to be accustomed to seamless, user-friendly customer experience – shopping on Amazon would be a prime example!
While financial advice isn’t quite the same as shopping for everything under the sun, do your systems make it as easy as possible for your customers to do business with you?
For example, what is your contract-signing process like? Do your clients have to print out a document to sign it and then scan it to be able to send it to you? Or are they able to electronically sign the document on their phone?
However they might choose to engage with advice, clients expect some kind of technology element as a standard service proposition. So, if you haven’t already established digital services for your clients, 2023 is the time to act.
Read more: Want to win? Statistics and trends prove financial services companies must provide digital solutions
2. Harness the power of technology
No business can afford to ignore digital innovation and more and more advice firms are leading the way with ground-breaking innovations and partnerships.
So, in 2023, make sure you’re one of them.
Technology should be woven into the fabric of your business 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.
As well as improving customer experience, 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.
3. Cultivate a great company culture
Following the Covid pandemic, one of the biggest challenges for companies in the future will be maintaining their company culture in a remote or hybrid work environment.
According to research from HR consultancy Robert Half, 73% of employees left their job due to poor company culture.
More recently, people have been increasingly focused on ethical standards and ESG commitments:
- 30% of workers said they would look for a new job unless ESG activity increased
- 53% of people said they wouldn’t work for an employer they thought was unethical
- 22% of 18-34-year-olds rate corporate values above salary.
While there’s no right or wrong company culture, in general people value transparency, authenticity, and well-defined roles with clear job expectations.
To future-proof your business, aim to foster a culture that embraces innovation and creates an environment where your employees feel that they’re free to contribute suggestions.
Remember, your employees may see things that you are unaware of. Whether they are dealing with customers or struggling with a workflow problem, your employees are often well-placed to recommend improvements.
Cultivating a culture that values their input will lead to better practices and, quite possibly, even new products or services.
4. Take responsibility, not just for your business, but for the industry too
It’s in everyone’s interest to make financial services an attractive industry, and it’s down to us to take positive steps to ensure the whole industry gets even better.
By marking a shift from a rules-based regulatory approach to one based on outcomes, the FCA’s incoming Consumer Duty has the potential to change the way the industry is viewed by outsiders.
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 do business, you can do your bit to help 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 select few.
5. Make your business sustainable and find ways to give back
Taking a sustainable approach to business is right for the planet and our people.
Many clients increasingly expect the organisations that they choose to do business with to give something back to the community and beyond. Doing nothing may have been okay in the past, but if you keep delaying doing good, it won’t be long before it trips you up.
One thing’s for sure – you’ll be judged if you continue to do nothing. So, take positive steps to demonstrate you’re doing your bit for the planet.
One simple way to do this is through an organisation who takes care of things for you. For example, Tree-Nation offers a complete set of tools to allow your business to plant trees to off-set carbon emissions or encourage brand loyalty.
A few moments of your time setting up something along these lines could help set you in the right direction. Plus, it’s a great way to demonstrate your values and open a new line of conversation with new and existing clients.
If you want to take things further, consider applying for B Corp accreditation. This can provide a useful framework for making substantial and significant steps to improve your business ethics and begin doing good on a wider scale.
Are you ready for the future?
Take the time to objectively evaluate what is required to ensure your company’s success.
Embrace decision-making that helps you meet your goals, and your employees perform to their highest level. Stop shying away from innovation and advances in technology and be prepared to adapt to the changes that are already well underway.