The reasonable person changes themselves to suit the world around them; an unreasonable one expects the world to change to accommodate them. Therefore the world is changed by unreasonable people.
It may be a mangling of George Bernard Shaw’s prose-perfect maxim, but it’s still good advice for small business operators.
It’s time to get unreasonable.
It’s time to start demanding the world around you change to better suit your business.
And the first little segment of the world you should be targeting with such an ultimatum is your financial advisor.
Financial Advice by Video Conference
In a digital age it’s just not practical that you should have to interrupt your workflow to meet in person with your financial advisor, or that you should have to keep paper records and carry sensitive files around with you on some vulnerable USB drive.
No, it’s time to start insisting on online financial advice, with digital record management and virtual meetings by video conference.
The financial advice and services component of any small business is the easiest to move online. After all, there’s no equipment here that needs to be taken to a specialist. There are no goods that need to be temporarily housed in transit.
So why should you leave your office to go visit someone else’s when they are supposed to be working for you?
The simple answer is you don’t have to.
More and more financial advisors are setting themselves up as online-only businesses and catering to clients they’ve never met in person. Such arrangements mean they and their clients have more control over when they meet and spend less time in transit and more time actually working.
The number of U.S. businesses that have access to a high-speed fiber optic internet connections has quadrupled over the past decade, meaning there’s no reason why the average small business can’t take full advantage of the latest in video conferencing and digital communications.
And life is so much easier online.
Everything’s Better with Video Conferencing
The big financial advisory companies have long identified the demand for, and cost benefit of supplying video conferencing services, and are among the most aggressive industries in providing automatic video chat links on their webpages.
But the smaller providers need to organize themselves into something like the one-stop shop arrangements music teachers have found on takelessons.com, or that those renting out vacation homes have established on airbnb.
Such a service would let small businesses seek out experts in their field regardless of their physical location. And it would provide a competitive environment resulting in lower consultation fees, which, when combined with reduced travel costs should make a difference to any business.
Once a relationship is struck, you can begin storing and sharing all your files online through a private connection, and start having more dynamic meetings that include real-time graphical comparisons and easily manipulated growth and cost estimates. You could even invite third-party specialists, such as investment advisors, into the conversation just by opening a new chat window.
But you have to demand such services before you can receive them.
And by the way, if you’re a financial advisor on the receiving end of such demands, you’d better take them seriously, because a big change in the U.S. economy is coming.
The Financial Future Is Digital
The wealth of a nation is changing.
Within the next 15 years more than 20% of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. For context, that figure currently sits at around 11%.
As these Baby Boomers move into retirement and start bequeathing their assets to their children, an enormous financial transfer is going to take place. Before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve 2045 the millennial generation will have inherited an estimated $30 trillion fortune from their elders.
And, as everyone seems to be well aware, millennials hate paper, embrace technology at every turn, and are the first generation to consider themselves digital natives.
This is a generation with a greater expectation of incorporating leisure, social, and wellness activities into their day-to-day lives than their parents ever did. And they expect to free up this time by using technology to meet when they want, to work how they want, to compare products and services instantly online, and to maintain their work, financial, and personal information within discrete digital devices.
If you’re an up and coming financial advisor, or you’re a veteran who wishes to remain relevant over the next few decades, you won’t have an option–you simply must embrace online, virtual ways of communicating with and servicing this rising generation.
And the only way to do that while maintaining a personal, face-to-face connection is through video conferencing.