18 – Don’t do what everyone else does

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. And imitation can work well in business. But it pays not to be too slavish about the way you emulate others. Differentiation is important, too.

This is particularly the case in financial planning now that the environment has changed so markedly. There will be a further shakeout in the industry and some advisers and dealer groups that look solid now will find themselves floundering as revenue streams come under pressure. You don’t want to find yourself imitating someone who is doing badly.

But doing things your own way goes deeper than that. One of the things that we strive to do at Dover is to assist advisers to move beyond the ‘standard fare’ of insurances and superannuation advice to include every facet of a person’s financial management. This includes things like:

  • Estate planning;
  • Small business management;
  • Employment advice and planning;
  • Buying residential properties for residence and investment;
  • Cash flow management;
  • Debt consolidation; and
  • Succession planning.

The list could go on. The point is that there is no need to limit yourself to doing what everyone else is doing. Because mostly all that everyone else is doing is insurance and superannuation. Listen to your clients and pay attention to the challenges they are facing. Look for ways that you can add value by solving real world problems, and then think about other clients for whom a similar solution would also make sense.  

And let them know about it. So often professional services suffer because they simply sit by the phone waiting for clients to call. Clients often don’t know they have a problem – or they at least don’t know that their problem can be solved. Be proactive and be happy to take your business in directions that other people have not taken theirs.

The Dover Group