Starting your own broking business can be a challenge, especially when the market is down, you are focusing on wealth accumulators, and you are starting from a standing start.
But 12 months after making her decision to go it alone, Dominique Bergel-Grant, director and principal adviser at Leapfrog Financial, said things are looking positive for the business.
Bergel-Grant, who has a financial planning background and previously worked for a large Outlook Financial Solutions business, said it has been all about getting out to the market.
“Realistically, it requires a lot of getting out there and meeting people, lots of networking.”
Bergel-Grant says it has also meant being clear about who the business wants as its clients, what she is personally good at, and communicating that niche effectively to key referrers.
With her background in financial planning, Bergel-Grant has built her business primarily targeting wealth accumulators, which include first homebuyers and upgraders. But she is even more specific: financially savvy women in Sydney.
“Essentially the focus is on providing advice to women, but it is more holistic than what a lot of other brokers do. I do offer financial planning, but I’m not a typical financial planner either. I do a lot of work with accumulators who don’t have a lot of assets.”
This means the financial advice centers around cash-flow management and budgeting, and exist strategies for the mortgages that she is putting people into, and insurance.
“Mortgage brokers have a huge opportunity, because they have a huge list of names of people who are accumulators, who financial planners don’t really want to talk to.”
Bergel-Grant is leveraging social media in an attempt to boost the Leapfrog brand, though she says that after a year of investment, it is only now just starting to pay off. She said a LinkedIn network of women in Sydney has started to yield actual leads. Likewise, she has joined up with new business 1300 Home Loans, and owns the Crows Nest post code in Sydney. She said leads are beginning to flow, and so far they are good quality.
Bergel-Grant also recently orchestrated a seminar on shares versus property, which organised experts to talk on the benefits of different asset classes for an audience of 100.
Over time, Bergel-Grant says she hopes that the Leapfrog brand will be remembered, and that so far, the brand had stood out in her clients’ mind – despite her apprehension at first.
“One of my first clients said to me, ‘Dominique, it sounds like I’m going to move ahead faster than the rest’. If it leaves them with the right positive message that they are going to get ahead and it’s a name people remember, then that will help me in the future.”
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