Innovation for financial planning business of the future
CASE STUDY: Newcastle Financial Planning Group
- External problem: cost of delivering client work / compliance
- Internal problem: frustration at working harder and making less
- Philosophical problem: if you are working harder you should be rewarded
- Enemy: the old way of doing things
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that life in financial services has been quite tough over the past three years. Combine the fallout of the Royal Commission with the current impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and you’ve got a series of events that have left even the most seasoned business people questioning the future viability of their business model.
My thought process has been no different. As the owner of a financial planning business which employs twenty staff across three locations, I can admit to experiencing more sleepless nights in the past four weeks than in all years previous.
My concerns have been the same as many across the industry: how can we continue to deliver great advice and maintain profitability as both the time and cost associated with delivering compliant advice, continues to increase? I found myself and my team working longer hours with less to show for it at the end of the day.
That was until an industry mentor pulled me aside and showed me the smarter way. It was something he had been doing for five years prior and would serve to not only rein in costs and improve compliance, but also to ensure more of our time was being invested in nurturing client relationships and securing new work – in turn driving profitability.
I’ll admit the new approach, which I’ll outline for you below, was not well received by our team. Many viewed it as a threat to their current role, to their livelihood. But as I would come to show them, it was actually an opportunity for everyone to move up the ladder and to do more of the work they really enjoyed doing – see ‘staff satisfaction’, the most underestimated determinant of business success.
The approach I’m referring to is of course outsourcing. And as daunting as it may seem, it’s something that has the potential to move your business from ‘survival mode’ to ‘sustainably profitable’ if done right.
The success we’ve achieved through outsourcing has really come down to three important factors:
- Selecting external service providers with a proven track record and quality assurance system.
- View it as a partnership – what you put in is what you get out.
- Effective reallocation of resources within the businesses to tasks with a higher customer value than those tasks outsourced, creating a client-facing team.
As the challenges continue to present themselves, be sure to look at what you can be doing and at the things you can change to ensure a bright future for your business and for your team. Regardless of whether outsourcing is a solution to the challenges you are facing, one thing is for sure: those businesses who don’t adapt will not survive.
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