A family office practice focuses on serving the wealthy defined as individuals or families with a net worth of US $10 million or more. Not all professionals want to build and grow a family office practice. Moreover, not all professionals who work with individuals and families are interested in building a practice with the wealthy. For those professionals who are concentrating on serving the wealthy, there are substantial obstacles…

  • It can be hard to find and connect with wealthy clients: In fact, many of the wealthy make an effort not to be accessible. They do not want unwanted attention and what they see as drains of their time. A growing number of them are actively putting up obstacles to keep people—including professionals—away.
  • It can be hard to help wealthy clients see the value you can provide: Because you might think you can be helpful, but that might be your opinion alone. Generally speaking the wealthy do not want to be sold nor do they reflexively believe you are the professional they need. Therefore, you need to effectively communicate the value you can bring to them, not what you can do (there is often an enormous difference).
  • It can be hard to keep wealthy clients as they can be highly demanding: More often than not, the wealthy are well aware of who is in control of their professional relationships—they are. Not only do the wealthy expect great results, but they also want to be extremely happy with how you work with them. All this can be problematic for some professionals. Keep in mind that, to most of the wealthy, you are fungible.

When we address these issues in surveys of professionals all these obstacles tend to stand out. All the diverse professionals we query are well aware of the obstacles they face focusing on the wealthy. That said, we habitually find that the wealthy are considered the ideal and preferred clients by a large and ever-expanding percentage of the most successful professionals and those who are looking to fast-track to ever greater personal and pecuniary achievements. So, another obstacle is the plethora of professionals eager to work with the wealthy.

A good starting point is to specify where you are today concerning your competition. This exercise can help you get perspective and help you see the power of a high-performing family office practice. Considering your current situation…

How do you define wealthy?

The higher the number—whether it is net worth, income, or investable assets—a high-performing family office is likely the best way for most professionals to better serve their clients and achieve greater success.

Who is your competition today?

Garnering wealthy clients is often complex and hard. With so many diverse professionals seeking to work with the wealthy, you need to understand who you are likely to meet as you seek to serve the wealthy.

How are you differentiating yourself from your competitors and to what extent are your efforts successful? 

Being recognized for your expertise and capabilities is essential to the success of your practice. Along the same lines, being able to stand out from your competitors is very often also essential. 

How are you going to surpass your competitors? 

By building a high-performing family office practice, you will often find much of your competition evaporates. You will be gaining a competitive advantage easily surpassing most other professionals because you have “changed the game” and are not competing as they are.

RUSS ALAN PRINCE is the Executive Director of Private Wealth magazine (pw-mag.com) and Chief Content Officer for High-Net-Worth Genius (hnwgenius.com). He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs, and select professionals.