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Profile stars share their top tips for business success

Check out the five top business tips from our 10 latest cover stars.

Paul Annys, managing director, Qi Financial Solutions

Since taking over the reins in 2013, rugby coach Paul Annys has taken Qi Financial Solutions through the transition of former director Neville Crofts’ retirement. His top tips are:

  • Do what is right for clients, what the regulator wants and make sure you remember the business too.
  • Work hard, do what you say you will and enjoy working with your team.
  • Keep learning and you will make more of a difference.
  • Just say it how it is.
  • Remaining independent takes time, research and commitment. It is not easy, but it is worth it.

Paul Annys, managing director, Qi Financial Solutions

Since taking over the reins in 2013, rugby coach Paul Annys has taken Qi Financial Solutions through the transition of former director Neville Crofts’ retirement. His top tips are:

  • Do what is right for clients, what the regulator wants and make sure you remember the business too.
  • Work hard, do what you say you will and enjoy working with your team.
  • Keep learning and you will make more of a difference.
  • Just say it how it is.
  • Remaining independent takes time, research and commitment. It is not easy, but it is worth it.

Ed Fairey, managing director, Fairey Associates

Logical thinker Ed Fairey is growing his business and is always on the lookout for new recruits to sustain this. He says:

  • Invest in quality staff.
  • Always focus on the best outcomes for the client.
  • Focus on the long haul, not short-term fads.
  • Keep learning and adding qualifications.
  • Marry/live with a chartered accountant!

Julian Gilbert, director, Wealth Matters

When Julian Gilbert’s life was turned upside down by a throat cancer diagnosis, he had to rethink his business plan. He now advises others to:

  • Write down a three-year company plan, break it down and communicate it to your team.
  • Get to know niche clients and their issues. Adapt your meetings to their needs and concerns.
  • Make sure you and your staff are learning. Develop your staff and pay for their exams.
  • Prepare for the worst. Make a plan for if one your staff become seriously ill before it happens, not afterwards (like I did).
  • Enjoy life: you are only here once. Make sure your clients do too.

Darren Lloyd Thomas, managing director, Thomas and Thomas

A fee-based proposition, quarterly review system and in-house control over investments put Thomas and Thomas ahead of the curve when it was set up in 2006. More than 10 years later, Thomas’ advice is:

  • Treat every day with clients and staff as an interview be on top of your game.
  • Filter out negative headlines and statements; happiness is a mindset.
  • It is OK to worry about clients. When you stop worrying you are vulnerable.
  • Profit is sanity, turnover is vanity.
  • 80% of your problems will come from 20% of your clients. Do not be afraid to end client relationships that cost your business consistently.

Julia Parsons, director, Kreston Reeves Financial Planning

Fighting the gender gap in the advice profession is important to Julia Parsons, even within her own firm Kreston Reeves. Her top tips are:

  • Look at the big picture and listen carefully to each client and colleague.
  • Look ahead and help clients plan for the future. Embrace change and think innovatively.
  • Tailor solutions to each client.
  • Be crystal clear so clients and colleagues know what is going on.
  • Be human. Enjoy helping clients and each other succeed and making a positive impact.

Adrian Murphy, managing director, Murphy Wealth

Described by its managing director as the ‘punks of financial services’ Murphy Wealth are not afraid to do things differently, such as taking on a younger client bank and focusing on marketing and PR. Adrian Murphy says to stand out:

  • Be clear on your position in the market as it is very crowded.
  • Understand who your customer is and do not chase the same as everyone else.
  • Look at your channels and be brutal. If you cannot talk about a strategic relationship, end it and move on.
  • Strive for a cultural and commercial match in all relationships, whether client, introducer or supplier.
  • Whatever you think your business is worth, it probably is not. Be honest and get to work making it happen.

Ben Ellis, director, Cactus Financial Planning

Two years after launching Cactus Financial Planning, Ben Ellis is already looking to expand and hit £100 million in assets under advice. His top tips are:

  • Stay focused on the things you can control and do not get distracted by the things you cannot.
  • Do not put things off. Just get it done!
  • Be disciplined with your time. Allocated your different job roles to certain days.
  • Stay active. Keep up your interests outside work. Healthy body. Healthy mind.
  • Do not underestimate the personal relationships with your clients.

Ailsa Brown, managing director, Gilliland Neilson Brown

Security plays a large part in Ailsa Brown’s management at Gilliland Neilson Brown, which has gained almost £2 million in assets under advice from last year. Her advice to others is:

  • Build a good team around you and delegate.
  • Employ people with a variety of skills – not clones of yourself.
  • Keep focused on the bigger picture – not caught up in the detail.
  • Look after your clients at all times.
  • Have fun.

Austyn Smith, managing director, Austyn Smith Associates

Austyn Smith adopts a consultative approach at Austyn Smith Associates, and, following family trauma, appreciates the importance of a work-life balance. He says:

  • People will forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
  • Simplification is the key to happiness. Take time to think and take a step back to take stock.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ to things that do not make you happy, so you can spend more time on the things that do.
  • Remove people from your life that sap your energy and surround yourself with those that support you.
  • Life moves fast. If you do not stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Andy McLaughlin, director, Astute Wealth Management

Glass bead maker Andy McLaughlin focuses on investing in young people at Astute Wealth Management. His top tips are:

  • Provide the service your client needs and wants.
  • Ensure you have accurate and up-to-date accounts.
  • Have robust and repeatable processes.
  • Invest in staff.
  • Enjoy what you do.
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