I am Tom Cruise. No I don’t have millions of pounds and believe in scientology like a crazy person, but when he played Jerry Maguire in the film. Jerry wrote a mission statement called ‘the things we think and do not say’ Click HERE to see it.

Tom_Cruise_avp_2014_4Jerry worked as a sports agent and wanted a different style of working with clients. Fewer clients. Less money. That the key to success was client relationships, as his great late mentor Dicky Fox used to say! Click HERE for the video.

When I started over 4 years ago my ‘message’ was not quite how Jerry put it, but the same principle.

People said “good for you.” But I knew the industry thought I was MAD. I halved my client base and they didn’t get why. For the record, my client base is 40% male. Jerry started his own business with passion, drive and with only one client, he set about making a difference.

The mortgage broker and IFA industry is business needs focused – how can the business convert more clients, which clients provide the most income and which products give the most income. Often only seeing clients who earn over a certain amount, require a larger mortgage or minimum amount of money to invest.

Some follow the approach of seeing everyone – ultimately providing a poor level of service and letting clients down. Cutting corners by not carrying enough research.

Is that what it has really come to?

A business should be able to look after all the client’s needs. If you only have one female adviser –recruit one!

If you only can see high level clients, recruit a trainee to look after the longer term clients that will come back to you time and time again as you helped them out.

My industry is short sighted and if we were to have another recession – who would stand the test of time then….

They say “you create what you think” and “careful what you wish for.” If that is the case, we need to be aware who we are listening to, what we are taking on board and how we are reacting to it.

I’ve listened to the wrong things, taken too much on board and acted too quickly, but I know, what I know now from those mistakes. “Vision without action is a day dream, action without vision is a nightmare” according to the Japanese proverb.

My last business update blog was over two years ago 2013! You can read it by clicking HERE.

woman financial adviserIt’s unreal that  it was so long ago … I ended the blog with an optimistic salute to the future, with a new beginning.  Sarah Drakard was just joining me. Sarah has gone on to build an amazing business and networking community in North London. She is like the cute sister I never had. She has a long list of women in business recommending her, which has taken pure hard work and dedication. I am so proud of you, Sarah!

I set myself the task to grow the business further in January 2014.

I launched my recruitment event for April in London, with the plan for the new team to join in the September. It was a big step and outside my comfort zone. I set about organising contracts, manuals and processes. It took over my summer and I am proud of the end result. I had a 30 plus index full of my 14 years’ knowledge and experience.

The team started and I continued to run the business, manage the team and work with my clients. The core business purpose is to create more jobs for women in financial services so that we can give more women financial advice.

It means everything to me to make it work. A year on and the ladies have grown in numbers and in their own abilities.

woman financial adviceJennie Delelis has been a massive support to the business and is a great asset to the team.

Nadine Monks, together we have created a sister specialist brand Evolution Forces Families  – female financial planners working with the armed forces community, which Nadine has already grown to include Anna Harrison from Portsmouth.

2015 was the most challenging year yet. I set about creating a new client management system or client journey process. It turned my business upside down, which I knew would be challenging. I under estimated the amount of new information I needed to take on board to get the project off the ground. It was a step backwards to make a leap forward.

We now have improved our client’s journey with automated updates from head office – ensuring our clients are kept up to date along the way. Our client files, emails and information are stored in one central record. This allows us, as advisers, to work closely with our clients and understand their needs even more.

We have published our client charter, detailing our service standards. High Customer Service Standards are at the core of the business and why I am so proud to have won the customer service category at Kent Women in Business Awards 2015. In the last three years I’ve been shortlisted, running up to 11 other awards but winning customer service was an amazing feeling! One to remember! Let’s hope I can take home the same award this year!

  1. Kent Women in Business 2016 – Women in Finance shortlisted
  2. Kent Women in Business 2016 – Customer Service Award shortlisted
  3. Professional Adviser 2016 – Personality of the Year – Shortlisted (out of 35,000 advisers plus nationally)
  4. Corporate Live Wire 2016 Innovation & Excellence Awards – Winner Excellence in Financial Advice for Women
  5. Kent Women in Business 2015 – won Customer Service AwardAward Winning Financial Adviser
  6. Kent Women in Business 2016 – Leadership and Management Shortlisted
  7. Corporate Live Wire 2015 Innovation & Excellence awards. – Shortlisted
  8. Kent Independent Traders Awards 2014 – Finalist ‘professional business’
  9. Kent Women in Business – Small Business Owner of the year 2014 – Runner Up
  10. Kent Independent Traders Awards 2013 – Finalist ‘Business Growth’
  11. Kent Independent Traders Awards 2013 – Runner up ‘Customer Services’
  12. Women in Finance/banking – 2012 Jo Cameron’s Achievers Academy for Women

We have grown another member of the Evolution team this year with Jennie Hayman joining us as an IFA under Evolution Financial Planning specialising in investments and pensions and another Will Writer joining our ranks in February 2016.

My focus will continue to be on our events, which are content driven and there to help educate and encourage women forward with their finances. The results and feedback have been amazing. We are making a difference to people’s lives. I’ve set us the challenge to meet 500 women through the quarterly events we run throughout Kent, London and Hertfordshire this year.

The business community I have around me has added enormous value. They have encouraged and supported me beyond anything I could ask for. They have shared events, invited me to speak and offered their help.

Running a small business is hard work, something only those who do the same can understand. It is not something you can do alone. Your support network and influence of those around you is the key to getting you through difficult days. Pushing you forward when you least expect it.

financial planning for women

The Evo Girls Network I founded and run is a testament to that. I will continue to give back by supporting the women in business in every way I can. Thank you Ladies! Please keep on supporting, encouraging and pushing each other forwards.

As Jerry Maguire’s fictional mentor, the late great Dicky Fox used to say “In life I’ve failed as much as I have succeeded but I love my wife (husband in my case) and I love my life and wish you my kind of success.”

   Find out more about me by clicking HERE.