What’s the essence of what you do?
I subscribe to a blog from Peter Diamandis which is all about the future, especially the ways in which technology is going to solve so many of our current challenges.
However, his most recent missive was around exactly the opposite: what’s not going to change in the next two decades. Here’s Peter recounting a time he listened to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, discuss that exact issue:
Jeff was on stage at a press event, and a reporter asked him, “Jeff, what do you think is going to change most in the next 10 years?”
Jeff replied, “That’s a good question. But a better question is: What’s not going to change in the next 10-20 years?”
He went on to say that, from his perspective at Amazon, what won’t change is people’s desire for lower prices and faster delivery.
Accordingly, Jeff built Amazon to focus on and invest billions into figuring out how to lower prices and increase the speed with which items are shipped to you.
“When you have something that you know is true,” says Jeff, “even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
What Else Won’t Change?
Tony Robbins, the American motivational speaker, personal finance instructor and self-help author, often speaks about the six fundamental human needs.
The six basic human needs include:
1. Certainty: We need assurance that we can avoid pain and gain pleasure.
2. Uncertainty/Variety: We have a need for variety, continuous change, and stimulus.
3. Significance: We have a need to feel unique, important, and special.
4. Connection/Love: We need a strong feeling of connection with people and we need to feel loved.
5. Growth: We need to expand each of our own capabilities and capacities.
6. Contribution: We need to contribute, and we need a sense of service and focus on giving back.
And Peter adds a 7th to this list:
7. The individual’s desire for more freedom: We’re constantly looking for ways to achieve more freedom in our lives. One great example of this is the shift that’s happening in freelance work. From designers on graphic design marketplace 99Designs, to Uber drivers, to independent consultants, more and more people are choosing ‘freelance’ career paths. They are choosing this because doing so affords them freedom of time, location and association.
Great financial planners have often chosen point 7 for themselves, and then go on to help clients achieve so many of these things too. They do that by having the deeper conversations that allow clients to identify what really matters. Then they take care of the financial roadblocks that stand between the client and fulfillment of their objectives.
What about your business?
When I thought about this piece I realised there are other things that won’t change for anyone running an advisory business too.
You’ll always need:
- Good strategic thinking – to know where you are going.
- To know who you serve (and to be anticipating the next shift in your customers’ desires).
- A great support team around you.
- Slick processes to deliver on your business promises to customers.
- A healthy culture and clear values.
- Good financial management.
- Strong leadership and business management skills.
The world changes. Technology changes. Laws change. The political climate changes.
Despite that I’ve always been confident about the prospects for good advisory businesses. You can build something solid, certain and amazing by remembering the things that won’t change and investing for the long term in the skills to help you manage them.
That’s a pretty reassuring message I reckon.