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Build Your Business Around An Enduring Idea

With Steve Sanduski

One key to long-term success in business is to think about what won’t change over the next decade and then allocate your time and resources to getting better in those areas.

Consider technology.

Since the iPhone was launched in 2007, the business world has gone gaga over technology. It’s exponential. It’s sexy. It generates clicks. And it gets people to attend conferences. Heck, it seems like every conference now has a “Fintech Competition” to showcase the latest in advisor software.

We even have prominent RIAs using scare tactics to lure smaller advisors into joining their firms by touting how they spend millions of dollars a year on technology development and since you can’t compete with that, you should join them.

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The reality is, neither you nor the RIA giants will ever “win” the technology game. Technology has, is, and will always change. Technology is always in a state of becoming and never arriving. And if you think you can get ahead by being on the leading edge of the tech curve, you’ll end up as a frustrated, low margin advisor.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no Luddite and I love technology. But I know tech is not the answer to building a profitable and enduring advisory business. Tech is a tool and it’s table stakes, but you don’t have to be on the bleeding, or even the leading edge of technology to succeed.

An Enduring Business

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said one of the keys to building his company was to focus on what won’t change over the next 10 years and then put all their energy behind making long-term investments in those areas.

Accordingly, he decided to build Amazon around three core ideas that he said consumers will always want.

  1. Low prices
  2. Fast delivery
  3. Vast selection

And when you know those things will be true for many years, you can build your business around them, invest in making them happen, and not worry about getting caught up in the next “shiny technology object.”

So what has Amazon done? They’ve hammered suppliers to keep prices low, they built fulfillment centers all over the United States to offer fast shipping, and they offer almost any product imaginable for sale.

Technology is simply one of the “tools” Amazon uses to accelerate results in its three core ideas of “low, fast, and vast.” Drone delivery, for example, is cool technology, but it fits squarely with “fast delivery.” Buying Whole Foods was not a tech play, rather, it was a way to add to the “vast selection” and “fast delivery” by being closer to customers.

An Enduring Idea

So what is your enduring idea? What can you confidently say will still be true one decade from now and is worth building your business around?

In a recent Barron’s article, top advisor Jeff Erdmann, who manages more than $8 billion, said he’s built his business around two things that clients will always want.

  1. An incredible level of service and convenience
  2. Delivering a high level of wisdom

So where does technology fit in those two areas?

Well, you can use tech to support your service delivery and make life convenient for your clients, but ultimately, you’ll need human beings to interact and provide the personal touch that so many of us crave from our service providers.

And the wisdom piece is really interesting. Despite all this talk about advisors needing to have AI because it can “predict” what clients will need before they even know they need it, Erdmann gave five examples of the kind of “wisdom” he has to deliver based on common client questions he has to answer from his high-net worth clients.

  1.     Should they get divorced?
  2.     Should they buy or sell a business?
  3.     Should they give their children money from their trust?
  4.     When should they give them money from the trust?
  5.     How much money should they give away each year in philanthropy, and what is the smartest and most tax-efficient way to do that?

As Erdmann says, there’s no playbook to answer those types of questions. And there’s no technology that’s going to replace your human ability to dialogue with your clients and to offer wisdom gleaned from years of experience in solving these types of issues.

Help Clients Live Well

In a similar way, our company ROL Advisor, co-founded with Mitch Anthony, is built around an enduring idea that all people want to live the best life possible with the money they have. And I have high confidence that no technology is going to make that desire go away anytime soon.

Knowing that won’t change, Mitch and I can confidently put all our effort into getting better at helping advisors like you use our tools and training to guide your clients in living their best life possible with the money they have.

As an advisor, you can use our digital tools, training, and marketing content to invest in improving your ability to connect with clients, to understand their hopes, dreams, and fears, and to create and adjust a Life-Centered Plan that helps them live their best life possible. The need to continually improve your skills in meeting your clients’ financial and life needs is not going away.

To learn more about ROL Advisor and how we can help you build your business around an enduring idea, CLICK HERE.


Resources

- ROL Advisor Put your client's life at the center of the conversation, not their money.

- Values Clarification Toolkit Click here to download this FREE tool and start living your values.

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