The start of a new year comes with a surge of energy and plans to make it the best year yet. Economic prospects for 2023 are not that positive, but paying attention to critical areas can help advisers grow their businesses in the coming 12 months. Focus on these five areas and make 2023 a good year.
1. Define and grow your market
A successful business requires either a stable market, with potential for additional business from existing clients, or a growing market (new clients). Take some time to analyse your existing market, or client base, to identify whether you should target existing clients, new clients, or both.
Analyse your market to see if it is growing, stagnant or declining.
Have you lost clients in the past few years, are existing clients bringing in new business, is your book growing? Answer these questions and determine how much business or value each client generates.
Identify potential new markets
There might be pockets in your existing market that you can target. For example, new entrants into the market, such as those growing their own businesses and/or those with young families, present opportunities. You can also consider a completely different target market, such as a higher or lower income market or even target a different geographical area.
Have a strategy to reach new markets
Firstly, let existing clients know all the services you offer. Newsletters, a general emailer with details and annual reviews are good places to do this.
Considering a new market? Determine your brand message and how you will deliver it. This can be anything from increasing your presence in social media or partnering with another adviser or complementary business such as a lawyer or accountant.
A word of caution: Strategies take time to develop and are based on sound research and good ideas. Don’t spend too long on your strategy. Sometimes the best strategy is to simply get started.
Talk to your product partner
1Life is constantly researching different market segments. Contact us and we can share valuable insights and ideas, and guide you on the ideal 1Life client and the markets we target.
2. Manage your cashflow
A US Bank study found that 82% of small businesses fail because of poor cashflow management. You and your business, even if you are a sole proprietor with few suppliers, need a solid cash flow.
Income earning patterns
Know how and when you earn income, for example annually, monthly or daily. Compare this to what your business needs and when, for example you need Rxx at the end of each month to pay salaries and overheads. It can also be useful to see if you have overheads you don’t need, which you can cut and save.
If your analysis shows that you won’t be able to pay your expenses when they are due, you can chat to your product providers about payment options and models, such as paying commission more frequently. Many product providers have different commission models to help advisers smooth their income and manage their businesses. At 1Life, we pay out daily commissions geared to help our partners to keep their cash flow sound.
Consider learning a new skill. This can help you offer more to your clients or become more specialised, for example become the expert in key-man insurance. Upskilling will give you new and more options to earn an income, and can mean different sources of income.
Review your existing accreditations, making sure they are up to date.
Remember to: Plan your CPD points. Don’t wait until April to earn these, plan in advance so you are not rushed or have to forgo a business opportunity because you need to attend an event to earn points.
Learn a new skill
The modern financial adviser has to be a financial coach, advocate, negotiator and more. Consider soft skills training. Online courses are available through GetSmarter, industry bodies and associations such as the FIA and numerous other institutions. Before you spend money, check out the institution’s credentials to make sure they are appropriate and offer a quality learning experience that is respected across industries and countries.
4. Get tech smart
The modern financial adviser has to be tech smart. Use tech, such as 1Life’s Vantage to enable your day to day tasks, save you money and improve your client service.
Audit your existing tech
Know what you have and if it is working for you. Include hardware such as laptops and tablets and any software packages. Assess the value they add to your clients and your business.
Work out what you need
Be guided first by what you need for your clients and your business, not what is on offer. For example, you may need help with your client communication, or help managing social media accounts. To manage your business, you may need an accounting package, perhaps an HR package. When you know what you want you can go shopping.
5. Build your brand
Market yourself in 2023. To grow you will need to become more visible to your target markets.
Understand your market
Learn more about your market, what they do, where they are and what they read. Consider a quick survey to find out more. This information will help you know where you want to be when, and which messages you should be communicating.
Places of presence
Decide where you want a presence so you reach your ideal target audience. This might be on social media, such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, or possibly Twitter, even TikTok. You may also opt for local newspapers, who are often willing to use advice type articles from local residents. Podcasts are growing in popularity. You can host your own, with another adviser or business or offer your expertise as a guest on different podcasts. Look out for community events where you can participate and even small sponsorships, such as event prizes, where you can build your brand.
Build your network, everywhere you go. Use industry events, small business events and forums, online groups and networks to meet and make connections. Be your own ambassador, have an elevator pitch ready at any time as well as business cards and use them! Make brief notes after making new connections, they could turn into clients and partners.
Don’t forget to: Care for your existing clients
It’s very frustrating when existing clients feel all the attention and time is given to new clients. Retaining the right clients is a hallmark of any successful business.
- Schedule annual reviews with your clients.
- Communicate regularly, via emails, newsletters, even a quick phone call.
- Offer to help your clients with their budgets and how they can manage them well, they are going to be tight in 2023!
Ready for the months ahead
Be flexible in your plans, anything can change and your strategies may need tweaking. No plan is perfect or works forever. But you know the problem with no plans… they definitely don’t work!