Unleashing your entrepreneurial success as a financial adviser

Caro Syson, entrepreneur, business coach and founder of Pocket PA, shares her insights on how to kick-start a successful business with the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy


When it comes to seeking guidance in critical aspects of our lives, we instinctively turn to professionals we trust: doctors for our health, solicitors for legal matters, dentists for our teeth and mechanics for our cars. These experts play integral roles in safeguarding our well-being, providing expert advice, and helping us navigate less familiar terrain. But there's a profession that often flies under the radar when it comes to recognition and trust: financial advisers. 

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a deep knowledge of economics that makes the difference between a good financial adviser and a great one. Instead, it is the ability to make well-informed yet sensitive decisions that truly sets exceptional advisers apart.  

Financial advisers are committed to their clients' best interests, providing clarity, education, and empowering people to make informed decisions. To succeed in this career, it's important to possess interpersonal skills, empathy, and resilience to understand and serve clients effectively. 

In return, a career in financial success provides a huge degree of purpose and the autonomy to unleash boundless entrepreneurial success. 

If you're on the starting blocks, considering a career change and a new venture, here are some key things you need to consider before you get going. 

1. Existing skills and knowledge 

While previous experience in your profession of choice can be advantageous, it's not necessarily a requirement. Specific or technical knowledge is usually something you can learn. However, a strong interest in the field is required so that you can adapt to the ever-changing professional landscape. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to identify areas where you may need further education or training beyond the necessary regulatory requirements.  

2. Obtain your qualifications 

When looking at a career in financial advice, there is no getting away from the fact that it is a highly regulated profession (as it should be!). It’s therefore essential to understand the regulatory requirements governing the profession. 

You will need to obtain all your qualifications to practise professionally as a financial adviser, so familiarise yourself with the legal and regulatory obligations to ensure you are prepared for the journey ahead. 

At this stage, it’s also important to consider a potential business partner. When it comes to regulation, it can be useful to seek guidance and support from those who have experience in the field.  

For example, when building a business with St. James’s Place, the organisation effectively takes care of all regulatory requirements – it’s part of the business model. Whether you retrain with the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy or join as an established adviser, you gain access to a network of experienced professionals who have an in-depth knowledge and expertise in regulatory compliance.  

Choosing a sound business partner can give you peace of mind and a solid foundation to build your business upon. 

3. Design a business plan

A well-thought-out business plan is a great starting point, but also a bedrock for you to come back to again and again as your business evolves. The plan should outline all your goals, identify your target market, include marketing strategies, financial projections, and your planned operational procedures (you can find a template to do so here).  

Having a robust plan can also be useful when seeking financing or attracting future partners. 

4. Grow your network

Your ability to network effectively will play a vital role in whether your new venture gets off to a good start. Do not underestimate the importance of building a professional network that can open doors to worthwhile partnerships and precious client referrals.  

Attending industry events can be extremely valuable, as well as joining relevant associations that can support you, connecting you with fellow professionals both off and online. These activities will all be part of your everyday routine in a new business, so factoring time in for this is a given.  

By engaging in conversations, sharing your own insights, and establishing yourself as a trusted authority in your field, you will quickly create a strong network that can significantly contribute to the growth and success of your new business. 

5. Define what sets you apart from your competition

In a growing profession like financial advice, it's crucial to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can do this by tapping into your core sense of self and defining your own unique value proposition.  

Look at your current circle of friendships, acquaintances, and interests to get these clues. For example, if you come from a particular career background, do you have a niche in this area that you could follow up by giving financial advice to these specific individuals (as you will most likely know how they might feel and can put yourself in their shoes, understanding their  concerns, worries and what issues they may face when it comes to needing financial advice)?  

Identifying your target audience and understanding their specific needs will be part of what you have to get good at, so you can tailor your services to address their pain points and clearly communicate the value you bring. 

Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) will become the foundation of your marketing efforts and help you attract and retain clients. So, work it out early and fine-tune it as you gain more experience. 

6. Understand what technology can support you

In today's digital age, it goes without saying that embracing technology is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ but a necessity. As a financial adviser, you will need to leverage technology to streamline your operations, maximise your time and enhance your clients’ experience when interacting with you.  

Technology can also help you stay ahead of industry trends so tap into financial planning software, client relationship management (CRM) tools, and digital marketing platforms to optimise your workflow and improve your own efficiency. Keep up to date and stay informed about the latest industry-specific technologies to remain competitive and deliver exceptional service to your clients. Again, this will set you apart from your competitors and keep your business growing.  

In some instances, you can outsource your technological support. At St. James’s Place, for example, the unique business model provides you with a wealth of resources and expertise that will enable you to streamline your approach and facilitate spending more time with clients. 

Looking for that rewarding new business venture? 

Remember that starting a new business as a financial adviser is both rewarding and fulfilling, but it requires careful planning, continuous learning, and adaptability. Embrace the challenges and enjoy the journey toward achieving your entrepreneurial dreams. 

Interested in finding out if a career in financial advice could meet all of your goals and ambitions? Why not read this article next? https://www.sjp.co.uk/academy/events-and-insights/news/how-to-be-your-own-boss-with-st-jamess-place-financial-adviser-academy