It’s certainly been a big year to review and revise how we do business now, and how we need to change moving forward. We certainly haven’t been able to manage it all on our own, with the additional burden of FASEA and study, so I’ve had to outsource some of the work.
Some of the big projects we’re currently managing include:
Engaging a professional to assist in a micro segmentation of our business client database. This will enable me to review any and all existing arrangements, allowing me to see what I have already in place and what needs to change. This micro segmentation of our database is revealing considerable opportunities for the business.
Revising our business service offering by moving from mostly percentage-based fees to flat fees, ready to roll out on client reviews. We have also brought on a new planner to assist with this; and
Investing in external business coaching via Strategic Coach offshore workshops each quarter. This allows me to take a good look at my business from a global perspective. I also continue to invest in myself through ongoing education via conferences and by associating with positive people in the industry, both locally and internationally, who are looking at the long-term in our newly emerging profession.
We believe client advocacy drives business growth and client referrals. We conduct an annual client experience survey measuring our Net Promoter Score. This year, 44 per cent of our clients responded providing strongly positive ratings for Shadforth and for their planner. Our scores went up in the backdrop of a challenging year post the Royal Commission. We use these results in our business plans to focus on improving the areas that matter most to our clients.
Negotiating a better deal for our clients
We have worked on aligning our business to our client value proposition in order to negotiate better prices for our clients. We use an evidence-based investment philosophy that determines how we construct our portfolios. We also ensure our platform providers can continue to meet our clients’ best interests.
Working closely with our planners, aligning to our investment philosophy and platform approach, enables us the scale to negotiate better fees from our platforms and investment options for our clients.
Investing in the future of advice
We continue to invest in technology to deliver an engaging client experience and streamline the advice process, while embedding compliance. We launched a digital client fact find that works seamlessly with Xplan. Applying an agile approach to pilot, learn and iterate, ensures we continue to innovate and remain relevant to a digitally enabled client base.
As we are all aware, the financial services industry is undergoing significant disruption and going forward, only those who are able to adjust their business models will thrive in the new environment. As part of this transition process to prepare for 2020 we have:
Ensured that all advisers will have met the new education standards by the 31st December 2019. As all of our advisory staff have relevant degrees, this has meant completing the ‘competency exam’, which we did as part of the June intake, and the ‘ethics’ course through Kaplan.
Ensured that we now only have clients who are in our target market. To assist in this process, we have 10 factors which we use to identify an ideal client and usually a client must satisfy seven out of 10 criteria. What this has meant is that we now have clients who we enjoy working with, who understand the value of financial advice, and who are prepared to pay a reasonable fee for that advice.
Partnered with third-party experts to help take our business to the next level, including a business coach, an asset consultant, an outsourced paraplanning business, and a number of fintech providers.
As we enter a new decade, 2020 will be an exciting time for the profession and we are looking forward to it.
The following are three things I’ve done that will help position my business for further growth into next year and beyond.
I have put together some thoughts below:
I have launched my podcast, The Savings Squad. The guests I invite on help me to get in front of new audiences, and it has also attracted new clients to my business as well.
I have committed to daily Instagram stories, because stories are very different to just posting on the page. These stories have helped me build a relationship with new clients, and a good story results in lots of conversations offline. These stories have also helped to reinforce my relationship with current clien I love seeing what they are doing, and sharing stories helps me to understand them better.
All my new clients are now virtual, even if they live in my home town. This means my team can be virtual, allowing me to source the best talent in the country. It also means we can support clients all over Australia, regardless of where they live.
Over the past 12 months, we have been engaged in the following three initiatives that we believe will position our business for growth in 2020 and beyond.
Focus on networking and business partnerships
Over the past 18 months, we have been focused on partnering with professionals that have real synergy with us. What we have found is there are many businesses out there that have the need and motivation to form new relationships. I have joined two business networking groups. It’s been a great way to meet with business owners that want to grow together. This initiative is proving to be a very successful growth driver for the business.
Relaunch our website
We have not been getting the level of enquiry we would expect from our website. We identified various reasons for this. With the help of marketing support in relation to choice of platform, message and SEO, we are relaunching shortly with the goal of achieving 50 new appointments in 2020. We are focusing on Google ads and organic SEO for this.
Growing the team
We have been selectively growing our team over the past 12 months to set us up for 2020 and beyond. We are focused on building a strong foundation of client support that will help us deliver on our goal of delivering the ultimate client experience. We are focused on grooming the next generation of talent from the ground up, while also bringing in talented planners who can help us evolve with new ideas, networks and client relationships.