Reinventing Advice – Less is More

Imagine a knee surgeon tired of fixing knees.

She has a good medical practice, a good reputation and a long waiting list.

But something is missing.

She isn’t ready to retire. She wants to change how she works.

That is difficult considering her business model.


What unsettles her most is the perceived lack of good options to change the situation.

She could build a bigger practice with other knee surgeons. That is beyond her expertise and interest.

She doesn’t want to ‘sell out’ and work within one of the private equity health care groups that bundle health professionals into large health supermarkets forging better stakeholder profits via ‘efficient’ patient care. That’s not the type of medicine she wants to dispense.

She seeks a “less is more” approach.

She wants to do more for fewer patients while achieving more for her patients and her practice.

What does she do?

Two knees at once? That only suits few patients.

The thought of doubling her prices and halving the number of clients sounds appealing, however becoming a knee surgeon for the rich or famous will come with additional costs, stresses and expectations. It will also unsettle her referral network and probably affect the flow of future patients.

Being renowned as a knee surgeon is a great strength, but in the quest for a “less is more” business model, it seems a weakness.


Until ready to reinvent themselves, knee surgeons will continue to fix knees.

So too for investment advisers advising on assets. Financial planners producing financial plans. Accountants managing tax and plumbers fixing pipes.

Reinvention is more than changing a firm’s landing page, or writing a white paper, or being quoted on social media, or writing a book, or undertaking additional study.

Reinvention is becoming renowned in solving new complexities for existing and new clients. The complexities professionals solve define their role and earnings.

Reinvention requires bravery.

Former promises and propositions given to some existing clients, alliances, referral sources, team members and networks can not be honoured to undergo a reinvention. There will be difficult conversations with loyal connections who may feel abandoned and left wondering who interests the reinvention is serving. Equally risky and daunting are the new conversations with the existing clients, referral sources, team members and networks upon whose acceptance and success of the reinvention is crucial.

Reinvention also requires super-human resilience. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky proved that our natural bias does not assist would-be reinventors.

Their theory of loss aversion means we are wired to avoid losses more than achieve gains. Holding onto current reputations, current clients, current referral sources, current team members and current propositions is far easier for us than reinvention to new models like “less is more”.

But these unique times are times for change.


Before Covid-19 changed daily expectations of normal, there was already a solid revolution underway in financial services. It is still there, partially on hold, waiting for its own post-lockdown resurgence.

The coming revolution of financial services presents a unique but tough opportunity for change.

Regardless of FASEA’s implementation timetable, regardless of distribution and licensing changes, regardless of advancements in technology, reinvention to a “less is more” model is a necessary step for many advice groups. The path is less about ‘finding the right proposition’ or ‘finding the new price’ or ‘finding the right client’. As complexities define the role of advisers, reinvention is about a focus on the complexities advisory teams want to become renowned for.

Importantly the chosen complexity needs to be exciting. The challenges of change are strong. Without excitement and the determination that comes with it, the energy required will dissipate.

The complexity needs to be expanding. If reinvention is based upon a path with tiny opportunities, it won’t gather momentum to overcome current workloads. It will become a side-project and remain just an idea.

The complexity has to be in the public and the client’s best interests. Building new future financial brands and reputations on a model that in the advisory team’s interests won’t cut it.

It goes without saying, the complexity a firm or practice wishes to focus on must provide progress to clients and advisory teams every year. It can’t be seen as “this year’s offer”.

The “less is more” reinvention revolution is on right now. These are the best of times to become renowned, to be known as the leader, to understand the intricacies of future paths and most importantly to convey the confidence clients need to start and continue on their required steps around their financial challenges towards their financial objectives.

The alternative isn’t pretty. Client’s expectations are going to grow, margins are going to lower, paperwork will become more bureaucratic, and advisory teams get even further stretched trying to be too many things to too many people.

Reinvention is tough for everyone, knee surgeons as well as financial advisory teams.

What do you reckon?




photo_credit: shutterstock_1684880530




For over 30 years, Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted advisory firms across Australia. His firm, Certainty Advice Group coaches, trains and is building a growing group of advisory firms delivering comprehensive, unconflicted advice, priced on value. The community of advisory firms aligns with Australia’s highest and only ACCC/IP Australia Certification Mark standard of comprehensive, unconflicted advice – Certainty Advice. He has authored three books regarding financial advisory firms and is due to release his fourth book in Spring this year – What Price Value.


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