How To Commoditize Tasks That Do Not Drive Revenue

Have you ever heard the saying, “Time is your greatest asset.” Yet, people still invest their single greatest asset into tasks that should be commoditized.

In Asia, there are a 2 major SME market segments that fall under the financial services umbrella. They are the Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) and External Asset Managers (EAMs). The 2 SME types are typically owner operated and are comprised of about 7-20 employees. The owners are, for the most part, professionals that came out of large corporates and started their own practice with the goals of earning more money, less bureaucracy, offering more independent advice to clients and a change in lifestyle.

The irony is that a lot of these goals are arguably dependent on one another. There are independents that simply seek an improved lifestyle without the red tape of coming into the corporate office, playing politics, no real desire to grow the business and that’s cool, then, this piece may not resonate with you.

However, there remain a large percentage of business owners that actually want to scale but may not know how to get there.

Take a look at your business and commoditize time consuming, yet important, tasks. Take for instance, reporting. Aggregating and consolidating monthly and quarterly client reports is a business and regulatory critical exercise. Yet, this task consumes a lot of time and effort. Budget can be allocated to this exercise by paying an administrative person; however, that budget can be allocated elsewhere to grow the business. Just because things have always been done a certain way for many years doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how it has to be done in the future. If the goal is to grow a business and achieve goals and you’re not seeing the results, then, change is necessary.

The budget and time allocated to an administrative person can now be mapped towards marketing and revenue generating exercises; helping your business create more impactful presence; reaching out to existing clients that increase customer engagement and experience while you network and meet new prospects and/or discover new revenue streams for your business.

After attending a conference in Hong Kong, it was evident that EAMs are like many other businesses and the failure rate can be just as high. It’s not that the asset managers aren’t great at managing an investment portfolio; it’s the lack of experience to run a wealth management business. For the IFAs, it is no different. Since the launch of GN-15/16 advisors and businesses have come under massive pressure and IFAs needs to search for new ways to generate revenue or face the reality of closing up shop.

Luckily for these business owners, there are solutions. IFAs can partner with other entities and distribute non-competing products and services. The IFAs have a large distribution network. There are services that aggregate data and automate client reporting at a cost that is significantly lower than hiring a full-time employee. The savings in budget and time can be allocated towards marketing or holding client events that are revenue generating activities. Activities that cannot be commoditized by technology and absolutely require an investment of your greatest asset – time.

Jovin Shen

Head of Sales & Marketing

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