What makes an adviser business successful?

These industry figures offer their insight into what makes an adviser business thrive

Create content

Chris Daems, Director at Principle Financial

The greatest difference in my business has been since I started to create regular consistent content for my business. Not only does it attract more people to your website it can be used to position you as a thought leader and provides the opportunity to build interesting new connections which, longer term, has the ability to benefit your business massively. I've also found that writing regularly allows you time to think deeper about certain issues and really clarify what I truly think about a particular subject. If I was going to provide any advice to anyone who wanted to start writing for their website is to do it relatively often (a couple of times a week at least) to get into the habit of writing regularly and find your unique voice (or give your unique perspective). Someone is more likely to read a unique take on a particular subject than another identikit article about ISAs or Pensions.

Did you know? By upgrading your account to the enhanced advertising package you can write articles and blogs for unbiased.co.uk. Find out how to upgrade.

Specialise

Steve Bee, Founder and CEO of Jargon Free Pensions

The real measure of an advisory business’ success is what it will eventually be worth to a future buyer. There are plenty of creative ways to value adviser businesses (multiples of turnover etc) but the bottom line is that a business that can produce a replicable profit (whether or not the principal changes) will have genuine resale value. Post-RDR, advisers should be looking to make profits from selling services to SME firms. The new auto-enrolment reforms give them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that.

I think the primary rule of any business is to know what clients you want to serve. If you know your niche you can create a service and pricing model that works for them. Financial advice can be incredibly varied. Advising someone in their mid-20s who is just starting out on their financial planning journey, and advising someone in their 60s who has lots of different assets are very different  prospects. They are likely to have very different needs and fee expectations. So to advise both you may have to tell one of them “it’s not really our thing but we’ll help you anyway”. That’s not a great message for them or you, compared to “yes, you’re exactly the type of client we look after already”. Specialising in what you do will get you noticed.

Set standards

Michelle Hoskin, Financial Planning Standards Expert at Standards International

To achieve true success in your business you need to set the standards by which you will run your business.  Whatever those standards are, one thing is for sure: ‘best’ should be the only standard on which you should pride yourselves and which you should strive to achieve every day. Ask yourself: “If I were starting my business from scratch tomorrow (without any clients, any staff and any baggage), what would “best” look like?”

In particular, what would ‘best’ look like in the following key areas?

1) Clients
2) Team
3) Environment
4) Culture
5) Communication                
6) Processes and procedures
7) IT and technology
8) Key stakeholders

Only when you have done this will you have a clear vision of what 'best' and therefore success means and looks like to those who are most important.

Get back to basics

Joss Harwood, Chartered & Certified Financial Planner, Eldon Financial

We believe that a Financial Planning business is no different to any other when it comes to the fundamentals of success, and we think these are:

  • Be able to articulate the firm's offering and be clear about what it costs
  • Have happy, committed and loyal staff who can themselves explain the firm’s services. This means training them well, treating them well and supporting them in their lives
  • Always do what you said you would do, preferably ahead of the expected delivery date
  • Demonstrate your expertise built on high level qualifications and attention to detail
  • Keep clients at the centre of the business and  build a trusted partnership with them
  • Be able to react and respond quickly to client enquiries work ‘up to date’ not ‘just in time
  • Keep your public profile up to date and relevant in terms of the image portrayed so that you attract those with whom you prefer to work

Robust research

Ian Lowes, Managing Director at Lowes Financial Management

Being independent is essential and delivering an appropriate range of financial planning solutions requires robust research, which has to be approached with a sceptical, but open mind. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is but a lack of understanding should not be an excuse to avoid what may well be appropriate investments or financial planning solutions.  So if you don’t have the requisite expertise in a certain area, find someone who does.
 
Having the right people, as well as robust management systems and processes in the business can mean the difference between success and failure.  Finally, never forget the rule that you should only put clients into investments that you, in the same circumstances, would put your own money into.

Know your niche

Jaskarn Pawar, Chartered Financial Planner at Investor Profile

The primary rule of any business is to know what clients you want to serve. If you know your niche you can create a service and pricing model that works for them. Financial advice can be incredibly varied. Advising someone in their mid-20s who is just starting out on their financial planning journey, and advising someone in their 60s who has lots of different assets are very different  prospects. They are likely to have very different needs and fee expectations. So to advise both you may have to tell one of them “it’s not really our thing but we’ll help you anyway”. That’s not a great message for them or you, compared to “yes, you’re exactly the type of client we look after already”. Specialising in what you do will get you noticed.

 

Please note: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by our contributing authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of unbiased.co.uk.


More articles