There’s a lot of talk about disruption these days. New technology, new Fintech start-ups, looming regulatory changes —all these changes promise to change the insurance and wealth management landscape. The advisors who will thrive in this new environment are those who are already making the necessary adjustments in their practice—the ones who have made the choice to disrupt their own business before someone else does it for them.
Here are three areas you can target as an advisor to disrupt your practice – in the best way possible.
Reinvent your philosophy #
The new financial services landscape will require different ways of thinking—a new mindset for the coming years of change.
Whether you’ve consciously thought about it or not, everyone has a philosophy that guides how they live, how they run their business and how they treat their clients. In practice management terms, that philosophy is, at least in part, made up of your vision, values and your mission statement.
Take a fresh look at your mission statement. Does it still capture your unique business offering? Consider other ideas that are important to you. Could one of them serve as a new organizing principle that drives your behavior? Changing the idea that is the foundation of all you do can be a powerful way to change your game.
For example, one advisor I know, after several years in the business, came across a quote by Dr Wayne W. Dyer- “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” It moved him so much he started to try to live by that dictum. The idea helped him make decisions at every moment of the day. It focused him on what his clients and staff needed and put empathy at the front of his game. Over time, this helped him form deep, long-term bonds with clients, which paid off for his business in the long run.
Change your niche #
For most advisors, niches grow organically. Few advisors start their practice with a pre-determined plan to target a certain audience. They simply put their head down and start making sales wherever possible. After a few years, if things go well, they may look up and notice that they’ve developed a network and a strong understanding of a certain area—for example, medical professionals. This is where, as an advisor, you can re-evaluate your strategy to recognize your strengths and place more focus into developing your brand in that niche.
At a later stage in your career, you can step back and make conscious niche choices. Survey the landscape- are there any product and service areas that interest you that you’re not currently working in? Are there groups of potential clients that you may have done some work with and see value in exploring further? Does the ability to work remotely and connect to clients anywhere at any time suggest new opportunities for your practice to expand beyond your current geographical reach?
Sometimes, making a conscious plan to develop a new market and then starting to execute on that plan can not only bring in new business, but reinvigorate an advisor and their staff.
Adopt new technology #
Disruption is inescapable across all industries, and in order to manage it you need to partake in it. Advisors are facing a significant challenge as customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with companies that adhere to an outdated client relationship management model. This model is typically manual, paper-based, and places a considerable burden on customers in terms of time and effort.
Instead of fearing disruption and the new technology that comes along with it, you need to double-down on embracing innovation. That means, adopting new technology and remaining ahead of your competitors.
Whether it’s a CRM to manage your compliance and relationships, or financial planning software to help you make in-depth financial interpretations, adopting modern technology will ensure that you’re working in the most efficient and productive way possible.
As the industry continues to evolve, it's important to remember that disruption can be an opportunity for growth and success. To stay ahead of the game, advisors must embrace innovation and make the necessary adjustments to their practice. By reinventing your philosophy, changing your niche, and adopting new technology, you can leverage disruption to improve your business strategy.