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When DIY = FAIL : Lessons in partnering for Growth

The Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation in their ground-breaking book “Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast”, concluded that small innovations are just as important as large disruptive ones, and can count just as much in the long term. There is a significant message in this for financial advisers who also wear the hat of the small business owner.

 

When we talk to advisers we commonly hear the same issues being raised:

●      How do I handle increasing threats from competitors/substitutes for my services?

●      How do we streamline our operations, however still make our clients feel special?

●      How can we spend more time with clients and less time on compliance?

 

These issues are not mutually exclusive, nor easy to solve. Too often it is easy to be overwhelmed when considering implementing a system or process to deliver performance improvement in an organisation. This applies to both firms who have 50,000 employees as it does to the firms with 5.

 

What company brought us the iPhone? Apple is of course the correct answer, but only partially correct. To get full marks (if this was a uni exam) you would understand that nearly 50 different corporate collaborations were at play between the technology monolith and the small, nimble providers of specialist skills and technology. Apple had the funds to acquire these businesses but knew that this would significantly hamper their speed of execution. The big idea, the iPhone, was executed through many small projects in a fast way. 

 

In my 17 years in the financial services industry, I have come across hundreds of committed business owners who have big ideas, but continually struggle with execution. They can be too easily seduced by the big idea, the new shiny toy, the latest trend. Financial Advice businesses that we see delivering profit margins in excess of 50% are the ones who have tirelessly focused on incremental business improvement, have brought in experts to solve key issues and invested heavily in technology to improve their business.

Peter Worn