Business Strategy: Who Are You As a Firm?

May 6, 2021

Your business strategy is your firm’s soul. Without a clear strategy firms often end up trying to be everything to everyone. They develop a disconnect between strategy and daily execution that impedes business growth. A clear strategy establishes the direction for the firm and builds a foundation for all the other processes and tools you’ll need to service your clients. This piece will focus on building a business strategy. It is the first in a series of four posts that will address business strategy, operation model, operations processes and client interactions and technology implementation in wealth management.

The Importance of a Business Strategy

A sound business strategy addresses two key points:

  1. Who are your clients? Wealth managers serve a range of clients and different clients require different levels of services and hold different expectations of their advisor-client relationship. For example, high net worth clients have more complex lives as a function of their wealth and will need different types of services (things like financial planning, estate planning and even outsourcing of their financial lives) than mass affluent who focus largely on retirement planning.
  2. How will you differentiate your business to obtain a competitive advantage? Wealth managers need to decide if they will focus on a niche and if they will provide personalized, high touch services or standardized services.

These decisions are critical for the long-term success of the business. Firms that develop a business strategy early on can more easily handle decisions that shape the infrastructure of their firms.

What is a Business Strategy

A business strategy is a plan of action designed to position a firm for competitive advantage with the goal of creating value. A clear business strategy readily provides wealth managers a framework for answers to:

  1. What services your firm will provide
  2. What your organization model will look like
  3. What your operational model will be
  4. What internal and external resources you need to execute

Journey mapping your client experiences helps you establish the processes you need to implement, and which of those processes will be standardized. At this point, you can identify opportunities to customize the experience and differentiate your firm. Defining these functions will shape the staff expertise you need and the technology resources required to deliver on those processes and experiences.

Developing a Business Strategy

To build a business strategy, ask yourself the following questions. The answers will define your firm and establish a foundational strategy:

  1. Can I say our mission statement?
  2. Who are our clients?
  3. What types of experiences do we want to provide for our clients?
  4. What services will we provide?
  5. What will distinguish us from other firms (our niche; our breadth of services; a high touch experience)?

Next Steps

With a clear business strategy in place, you can establish the pillars of your business—a target operating model that supports your vision for the optimal client journey with clearly defined operational process and technology tools that align with your core capabilities — and plan for growth.

Need help refining your business strategy? Get in touch and we’ll put you on the path for strategic success.

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