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6 Ways Financial Services Can Increase Support For Businesses

Times are challenging for all. But we will get through this, together.

In the midst of all the current challenges and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, you must not forget why your business exists and the value you provide to others.

Do you remember what your why is?

There is a growing level of goodwill, information and financial support available for businesses - it is so amazing to see this. If nothing else, this situation should remind us of the power of the human spirit of the job creators, the innovators, the carers and the leaders who have their backs against the wall, but are still fighting.

We all need support.

But I want to focus on the financial service providers - the bankers, the lenders, the investors, the financial consultancies, the insurers and all those organisations who were founded to protect, to nurture and to serve businesses. 

We often forget that the financial service providers are businesses too and need support as well. Yes, some may charge fees for their work so you expect them to deliver, some will receive interest on monies owed to them or expect a profit down the line.

Yes, same may have multi-millions and billions in reserves to help them get through this time, so why should they be complaining, right?

I offer you the perspective that whilst all the above is true, they are being challenged to ensure they exceed the level of value they normally provide for their clients, at a time when businesses need them more than ever before.

The certainty that they once offered may not be there in the same way, as they now have to respond to digital transformation of their industry, impact of regulation that may stifle their ability to innovate themselves, internal pressures to improve cost-efficiency.....let alone COVID-19.

We need balanced change - there needs to be new actionable thinking in the board-room, coupled with tangible action of new approaches that challenge the norm. But with a focus and measurable commitment of adding more value than ever before, with or without the need to respond to global disruption.

Here are 6 ways that I believe would make this easier to achieve:

C - Culture: Financial services organisations should assess the macro impact of having to develop entrepreneurial cultures overnight.

This ought to be as a commitment to how their company cultures could evolve for the long-term.  I mean, who ever thought remote-working was ever possible eh? :)

I do also say, evolve, because I am under no illusion that this will face resistance and will not be easy to achieve. But, as a key step, financial services organisations, should review their...

L - Leadership: The 'new world' will require a new approach to leadership.

Financial services models can be judgemental, restricted through regulation etc often resulting in a traditional hierarchical leadership style and culture.

Not all in cases, granted.

New world leadership will also need to go further than an equal state of diversity. They need a laser focus on the notion that not everyone is the same, even when they are 'the same'. The deeper you go, the granular the understanding, the greater the ideas, innovation, experience and all that we are fighting for. That is a whole different blog in itself and gives the client a greater...

A - Advantage: It would be fair to say that financial services organisations have the client volume, size and range to understand the greater needs of more businesses at scale.

In these times of uncertainty, the most proactive firms will be the ones who use their experience and knowledge, as part of an innovative mindset to the client meeting; professional advice is expected, that is what the staff member put blood, sweat and tears into studying to provide and the client to pay for.

But the extra mile, will come from the unique intelligence that the client did not see coming, the nugget of wisdom that is given to them, the game-changing comment that lifts their spirit, no matter how small the.... 

R - Reality: Need I say more? The reality is real right now for everyone.

No one likes to be told "your baby is ugly"in these turbulent times...but sometimes, it is better to embrace the truth and get on with it one way or another. Likewise, if the business is still doing well, both extremes lends itself to....

I - Intelligence: The beauty about reality is that you can ask different, but honest questions.

Financial service firms can use the elements of advantage with reality, with the effective use of data, to unlock new intelligence improve support for their client. In some ways, COVID-19 does provide a real opportunity to reflect, refresh and charter a new course through innovative decision-making influenced by...

T - Time: New ideas can work quickly or require patience of time. Lockdown gives us time.

How businesses use their time is key and in some ways, lockdown gives you back the time you may have used in other ways. Financial services organisations can help their clients plan more effectively during this period, challenging their clients on milestones, KPIs, activity that focus on survival know, but could also drive positive change for...

Y - You: Whether you are the finance professional, the business owner or staff member, your mental health is important.

The healthier our minds, the healthier our thoughts, the more positive our feelings, the more positive our action, the more resilient we become.

C.L.A.R.I.T.Y - is what we all seek right now. But remember:

Culture is breed from Leadership. Leadership finds the Advantage. Advantage forms a new Reality. Reality unlocks Intelligence. Intelligence and its impact is dictated by Time.

How you use your Time is all YOU can control right now.

Use it wisely, stay safe and see you on the other side.


About the author

Joel Blake

Joel Blake

Joel is a multi-award-winning businessman and public speaker, with a passion for helping companies accelerate business growth.

He is the Founder and CEO of GFA Exchange. Previously, he was the Executive for Growing Business and Access to Finance for the GBSLEP.

Over the past 15 years, Joel has developed a credible reputation for innovation with business support ecosystems, advising professional bodies, public sector organisations and corporate firms on how to innovate their existing businesses support and leadership strategies.

He was awarded an OBE for Services to Business Support and Enterprise in 2016.

Outside of GFA Exchange, Joel is Vice-President of the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce, National Ambassador for the Institute of Leadership and Management, Fellow of the National Centre for Entrepreneurs and Board Member of Birmingham Symphony Hall and Town Hall.



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