Here’s what I learned from my MBA studies—focus, focus, focus. Notice that every great company today (Intel, Cisco, Microsoft, Sun, Oracle, Home Depot) does only one thing and does it really well. If you deviate from this principle, your business will only be a fraction of what it could be.
Three Ways to Focus a Financial Services (or any) Business
Start with the triangle below and build your business from any corner. Many advisors and agents think that focus means selecting a target market. That’s only one way to succeed—by selecting a group of homogeneous people (e.g. people over age 60, people with stock options from technology companies, owners of business with revenues less than $5 million). You can also build your business around being a product specialist. Let’s say you are a wizard at selecting utility stocks. You can succeed very well with such a product specialty. Or, you could succeed with a marketing specialty. Maybe you have a skill at developing direct mail or a skill at giving seminars. Start at one point on the triangle and then build your business around that to get focus.
Once you Focus, So Many Aspects Fall into Place
Let’s say you want to do seminars as your sole marketing technique and build your business around that. Obviously, that will dictate that you can only do business with people who will come to seminars. People in their 40s and corporate executives are too busy. So, you must focus on retirees and small business owners because those are the people who have time to attend seminars.
Notice that the types of people who you choose as a target market will then dictate the products and services you offer. For example, you would not offer investments in stock options to seniors, but you would offer estate planning. Because you choose to build your business by marketing with seminars, your business must be local. People must be close enough to you to attend a seminar (you will not be doing business with people who live more than 20-30 miles away).
Seminars lead to face-to-face appointments so you will either need a nice office near your prospects or be ready to go to their homes and offices. This also dictates that you have a nice wardrobe.
Notice that the initial choice upon which you build your business dictates everything else, such as office location, how you dress, the types of people you prospect, and how you prospect. The truly successful business builds everything around the initial choice of focus.
Here’s an example from my business. My target market is seniors. Therefore, I market with seminars because they like to meet people face-to-face in a non-intimidating venue. I manage a lot of blue chip stocks, sell annuities and provide estate planning—the services that seniors want. My office is close to where they live. I prospect in only THREE zip codes with a high senior population and my office is right in the middle. I am in an elevator building so they don’t need to walk up stairs. My building has parking because they come to see me. My business name is Senior Resources. I wear light colored shirts and dark ties (same as they do). Notice that everything I do is built around my initial focus for my business.
This is the first downfall of a financial services practice—when your business is unfocused and you take any client with a few bucks to invest. You can never build a business of any value.