The financial services industry is very male dominated, now I don’t know the figures exactly, but from the Gala dinner that I attended last week, I’d say that about 1 in 10 of the guests were female.
Now the figures may be skewed slightly, as the event was mainly invited business owners, and those at the top of their game, and by definition, when the average age of an adviser is 55 years old – most of these will be men.
In a sea of well-dressed men in black tie, it gave us ladies the opportunity to choose something to wear that would make us blend in– or stand out.
The same goes for business
It is likely that there will be other people in your town who do the same job as you – there will be more than one builder, florist, personal coach or accountant. In fact there might be 10 other people in your industry in a 3 mile radius.
And do you know what – it really doesn’t matter!
Whether you are trying to attract customers, or trying to secure an employed job in a competitive market you need to be offering something different, so that people can notice you.
Let’s take for example, a photographer
Richard Torble – is a headshot photographer. He did our pictures and we love them! He knows how to get you to stand, smile and look to present yourself in the best possible way to your audience.
He doesn’t photograph dogs, weddings or show-homes – although I know others who specialise in these areas.
This means that he is known locally as a specialist and it raises his profile online, allowing him to attract the right sort of clients for his business.
So what about your business?
What are you offering that makes you different from your competitors? How can you stand out?
If someone had to choose a (whatever you do) – what would make them do business with you rather than one of your competitors?
It doesn’t need to be a niche as such. And it certainly doesn’t mean you need to be cheaper. Which part of your business gives you the most joy, the most money (or both)? Focus on that.
Is there a stereotype in your business that you wish to overcome?
I suppose my business represents my three core values:
- Customer service – going the extra mile to ensure that clients understand where they are now, and the steps they need to take to turn their dream into a plan – and then helping them follow the plan through to the end. I pride myself on this and have recently been shortlisted for the Canterbury Business Awards ‘Exceptional Customer Service’ category.
- Integrity – doing the right thing when no-one is watching. Historically there have been some not so ethical practices in the industry…think PPI, endowments etc. And I want to do my part to put things right – proving that you can work honestly and ethically with the client at the heart of what you do, and still earn a living.
- Having fun – life is too short. It really is. I want you to have the money, when you need it so that you can do what you want to in life – but who said finance needs to be boring? Not me!!
And in case you’re still wondering, I chose to stand out from the crowd in an amazing blue dress!
Our gala dinner raised over £10,000 for the Dallaglio foundation, celebrating a year that has seen advisers raise over £46,000 for our charity partner of the year.
More information about the work they do to get teenagers back into education and support them to become productive members of society can be found here.