Sherise Mercer, Head of Client Strategy, Macquarie Wealth Management
Reaching out to peers, creating positive networks and having valuable conversations with staff can be effective ways for accountants and advisers to learn from each other, boost their confidence and get ahead.
Having confidence in your ability to deal with the challenges that arise and make the most of the opportunities ahead is essential when it comes to running a business.
Macquarie recently conducted a national survey among small and mid-tier accounting and financial services firms which found that principals and partners who rated their confidence as ‘high’ were also much more likely to rate themselves as successful at achieving their business goals.
While confidence and success can often go hand-in-hand, Macquarie’s research found that business owners with high degrees of confidence reported greater levels of success in the retention of quality staff, building a positive workplace culture and maintaining and improving the client experience.
At the same time, the report revealed those with lower confidence levels tended to be distracted by external factors outside of their control, which in turn pulled their attention away from those issues where they can create a positive outcome for their business. In particular, those with lower levels of confidence cited increased competition, client retention, the pace of regulatory change and attracting new clients as key concerns.
There are a number of ways business owners can increase their confidence, and in turn their success.
Stay connected and build a network
Running a business can be isolating at times, and building a strong support network can help business owners see the bigger picture. Connecting with industry peers can create opportunities for firms to get an insight into leading practices and share ideas and techniques they could apply to their own business, whether it’s through your own informal personal networks, industry associations or other business networks. Hearing from others about what has worked and what they have learnt can be incredibly beneficial, providing business owners with reassurance that they are on the right track and build confidence in their own ability.
Inspire your team
It is equally important to build a strong and supportive network within your business. Macquarie’s research found that four of the five top success measures in which more confident business owners excel at actually relate to their own team – and how they retain high performing staff, maintain a positive workplace culture, recruit new quality staff and set up new starters for long term success.
Confidence for business owners comes in the knowledge that you have the right team in place to support your clients and firm, and staff need to know they have a leader who backs them and their work, and is there to encourage and inspire them.
Central to this is creating a workplace atmosphere where the team is engaged and have a sense of purpose, rather than the focus being solely on their remuneration level and quantitative outputs. Having valuable conversations with staff, welcoming their input on the future direction of the business, and acknowledging individual skill sets results in more confident staff and a better client experience.
It’s about finding an approach that works for the firm and staff members. Examples that can help to not only boost team morale, but overall engagement levels can include everything from evolving roles to give team members the opportunity to focus on areas they are passionate about, to offering flexible working hours to parents who have just returned from maternity or paternity leave, or helping to ensure working parents’ hours fit around child care.
With confidence comes a sense of focus and control. As the wealth management industry in Australia goes through a period of significant change, with heightened regulation, shifting client expectations and changes in technology, it’s never been more important for business owners to be looking to the future, preparing their businesses for these opportunities and feeling they can do so with confidence.
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