I recently had the privilege of hosting a panel of innovative business owners at this year’s Conexus Best Practice Forum in Sydney this September. In a thought provoking Q&A session around technology, a few home truths came to light. In a 2 part series, I will explore the lessons that I uncovered at the session, and what practical items we as businesses can apply.
Firstly, 3 evident things stood out to me during the session:
- Advisers are often overwhelmed by the amount of choice and complexity that technology now represents.
- There is a considerable gap in the industry for non-biased technology consulting services.
- Despite compelling stories around potential profitability, many business owners remain highly sceptical that a technology investment will deliver a bottom line result.
The preeminent IFA businesses across Australia share some common traits. They know what they stand for and their business plans are clear, followed & regularly reviewed. They focus on the big picture, hire the right people, and are always seeking to learn new ideas. For a long time now, Business Health has clearly articulated the financial benefits in demonstrating these traits. Whilst often serving different target markets, these businesses often enjoy enviable profitability margins of above 50%, with revenue streams that are resilient through environmental change.
So how do we as an industry build efficacy in making technology decisions? Firstly, there has to be a commitment to learn and share.
Learning & Sharing
A perennial challenge for business owners is getting out of the office to events such as what Conexus offer. These events are high in quality, and most importantly present content not driven by industry suppliers, meaning you don’t pay for a product pitch. Commit to attending 4 of these a year and pay for them yourself. You can further expand your idea creation by attending events offered outside the industry. Stone & Chalk for example, regularly offer free events for business owners to attend. They present a great opportunity to break out of an often blinkered industry, grow your network and expand your mind.
The financial advice profession is fantastic at sharing; however we need more forums (through LinkedIn) which are specifically dedicated to advice technology. I also recommend starting working groups where like minded businesses can get together on a semi-regular basis to share ideas. These should ideally be culturally aligned forums, who serve different markets and from diverse AFSLs. Learning and sharing should be at the forefront of advisers’ minds, to expand their knowledge, learn different perspectives and gain new ideas to move ahead within the technological space.
Join us in the coming weeks for Part 2 of Rise of the Machines, to explore two more important insights from the session, and how we can build our technology presence up in financial planning practices.
Until next time,