Get your new financial advice practice off to a great start

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3 mins read

Starting a financial advice practice is an exciting prospect for any financial adviser. Thoughts will often focus on a few areas, including what the potential growth will be, what revenue might be projected, and where clients will come from. While these are all important, they can be understood in a clearer and more effective manner if you take a step back to work out why clients would actually invest in your services.

“Why you’re doing it must be really clear, particularly in a world where the nature of the relationship between the adviser and client is changing rapidly,” says Jim Stackpool, CEO of Certainty Advice Group. “It may be because you’re a great investment manager, or because your coaching skills allow you to be a guiding hand. Working out what is your ‘why’ will help you determine everything else with some objectivity.”

Stackpool says the development of an adviser’s business plan is critical to success. Getting it right will help you track towards your goals and give you a helpful focus when you are working through trying times.

Also important is an understanding of what the motivation for launching the new business is. "For someone considering striking out on their own, it's important for them to know what the aim is," says Stackpool. "Do they want to create a job for themselves – where they are the business and there isn't a business without them – or is their intent to create a firm which is not as reliant on the founder being there longer term? Knowing what the course ahead is will allow them to start from day one with the right approach in mind."

What comes first: admin or management?

At some point, if your business is to grow, you will need to add more support staff. However, your first hire doesn’t necessarily need to be an administrative assistant.

“Focusing on an admin support person may seem like it makes a lot of sense, but it can expose you to what I call the ‘wobble effect’, where you now need to manage someone else, including their training, and when you make your next hire you then need to focus on how both staff members will interact with each other,” says Stackpool.

“Instead, if the first person to be brought into the team is at a senior or management level, it can keep you accountable to the direction of the business. They can help keep the priorities in focus, and that can be invaluable in the early stages.”

Learn from your network

Once your purpose has been determined and the business model identified, there is no substitute for analysis of the market in which your new business will operate. This includes examining similar businesses and working out their revenue, what software they use, and how they created the reasons for people to invest in them.

“Potential new business owners should ask their network for advice; what worked for them and what didn’t,” says Stackpool. “There is no better way to gain insights on the space than to ask practitioners who are doing it.”

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Important: This article has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial or taxation situation or needs of any particular individual. Before acting on the information, you should consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. Any information used in this article is for illustrative purposes only. Jim Stackpool is not a member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group of Companies (the Group) and the content or any view expressed by Jim Stackpool does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, guarantee or advice in regard to any matter. CBA, nor members of the Group accept any liability for losses or damage arising from any reliance on external parties their products, services and material. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.