Business owners tend to make great clients, which is why competition for them is fierce. Rebecca Jones uncovers a few handy tips that could give you the edge
Few advisers would disagree that business owners tend to make both stimulating and lucrative clients.
With these clients on their books, advisers have the opportunity to advise across a much wider sweep of services, including key person and partnership assurance, as well as pensions and wealth management.
In addition, business owners can open numerous doors to advising employees and referrals among other professional contacts - a dynamic Roland Oliver, director of Oliver Asset Management, refers to as the "virtuous circle".
How to attract business owners as clients
With all of these benefits, it is no surprise that competition for business owners is fierce, with advisers often having to battle the big accountancy firms and private banks to secure and retain them.
However, there are a number of things that a smaller advisory firm can offer a small to medium sized business owner, not least a more empathetic service.
"The most important thing is common ground. We are business owners too so we have the same line of thinking," says Aj Somal, director of Aurora Financial Planning.
According to Somal, this shared experience helps advisers really understand the aims and objectives of a business owner, a crucial factor in helping them to reach their goals.
Like charity, finding a potential business client often starts at home.
"Referrals are important for getting business clients, so use your existing client base to identify potential clients who can recommend you," advises Somal.
Alongside sifting through your contact lists and tapping up your professional connections, Oliver also recommends scoping out the neighbourhood.
"Literally look around the building where you are based as you will have business owners there that you can access informally and for free," he says.
In addition, Oliver also suggests contacting local enterprise groups and chambers of commerce to offer your services and find out about upcoming events. He has had particular success with Scottish Business Gateway.
However, while he advocates being proactive, Oliver also warns advisers to be selective about the businesses they approach.
"You need to find businesses you can understand and empathise with; there is no point in me going after a specialist research lab as it is not something I know an awful lot about," he says.
Somal agrees, adding that advisers who do step out of their area of expertise can open themselves up to potential problems.
Mark Pemberthy, director at JLT Employee Benefits, also warns advisers to be wary of the challenges advising a business client can present.
"It is very difficult to be able to deliver high value and high quality services to both individuals and their companies unless you are resourced to do that. Don't spread yourself too thinly," he says.
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