Following the release of the banking royal commission’s final report, FAST CEO Brendan Wright discusses the importance of business strategy in helping brokers to navigate and adapt to changing conditions.
If there is one thing that the royal commission and various reviews have brought to light, it is that anything can happen.
While there is still some uncertainty about how the proposed changes in the royal commission’s final report will pan out, brokers, as business owners, need to be equipped to tackle challenging conditions and adapt their business strategies.
Of course, not everything can be planned for. By taking a long-term view and applying sustainable business strategies, including strategic scenario planning, brokers can remain on the front foot and keep their focus on what they do best: delivering good customer outcomes to clients.
So, what do we mean by sustainable business strategies? Sustainable innovation and sustainable strategies come out of the ongoing investment in people, platforms and services.
FAST has always been consistent about having a sustainable strategy around core principles which include:
Here we delve into greater detail about how you can apply these principles to your business, to continue to grow into new markets and build a successful business into the future.
Diversity is one of the key things that we can use to differentiate businesses in a sustainable way.
This concept goes beyond just diversity in product lines and revenue streams to encompass diversity in the workplace, which is clearly linked to improvements in organisational performance.
For example, as a business leader, you may often feel pressure to come up with all the answers and solve every problem. Creating a culture that enables diverse thinking, knowledge and capability across the team can really help your business to differentiate and stand out in a service-led industry.
For a broker, being able to clearly show a knowledge of each and every client, as well as an understanding of their financial situation, objectives and needs, is crucial in today’s market.
The vast majority of brokers are having detailed conversations with clients, but the question we have been asking is: how do you show that you know?
At FAST, we are encouraging businesses to take a close look at how those conversations are, or are going to be, documented going forward. Brokers who can clearly demonstrate they are putting client needs first, and make that their sole purpose, will give their business an edge and a differentiation now and into the future.
The broking industry is changing at a rapid pace, so it is important to have the right tools and systems in place to stay ahead of the curve.
Business platforms such as Podium, help to automate administrative tasks, keep accurate records and effectively track revenue, so brokers can focus on bringing in new business. Technology is also enabling improved client communication and a better customer experience, beyond just the transaction of getting a loan.
FAST continues to invest in industry-leading product and service innovations to enable more seamless interaction, greater security and an improved client experience, making it easier for brokers to do business.
In challenging times, it can be hard to keep focus and uncertainty can, understandably, cause stress. We need to ensure mental health and wellness stay on the agenda – to grow healthy businesses but also keep healthy minds.
Mental health and wellness has been a priority at FAST for many years, and we continually strive to create awareness, understanding, and provide frameworks of support.
For seven years now, we have provided access for brokers and their employees to a confidential counselling and coaching service. More recently, FAST had one of Australia’s leading mental health advocates Wayne Schwass (ex-AFL legend and CEO of PUKA Up) present at our leadership conference.
Consider some ways you can make mental health and wellness a focus in your business, from looking at ways to provide support and resources, to improving your workplace policies and practices.
In an evolving market, having the ability and flexibility to adapt or pivot your business strategy when needed is essential.
Every business, no matter what size, should have a business plan to be used to guide the company in achieving its goals. Over time, however, internal and external factors can influence operating results, so it is important to ensure your plan is flexible and revised often to meet ever-changing market conditions.
Having a long-term view helps broking businesses to scenario plan and meet more of their clients’ long-term needs in a sustainable way. We will be continuing this conversation with FAST brokers throughout the year at our broker forums and national professional development events.
More broadly, FAST remains deliberate and resilient in its support for the broking market. Brokers clearly play a key role in our society by creating competition and access to the quality debt advice in both the residential and business lending markets. We will continue to engage with the industry and advocate for brokers in this time of change.
Brendan Wright has been the CEO of FAST (Finance & Systems Technology) since October 2012.
With extensive experience in the Australian financial services sector, this includes leading diverse and large distribution businesses across a range of customer segments, such as Business Banking, Retail Banking and Third Party Origination.
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