I started as a scientist, moving through the ranks: BSc, Ph.D., postdoc, and writing peer-reviewed papers. Commerce called, and I began writing patent, grant, and funding propositions for a biotech firm before moving into personal financial planning in 1997. Science and finance are the same thing to me—both aiming to solve complex, real-time problems.
Bristol is a fabulous city, with a heady mix of innovative businesses in both the Arts and Technology sectors. What’s exciting right now is the sheer range of business startup opportunities. Bristol boasts the only privately funded startup incubator in the UK, Unit DX, with DY and DZ to follow in due course. There is also the Engine and M-Shed, SETsquared, the new Global Technology Centre in 2020 at Filton, and the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC)—Bristol University’s £300-million city centre campus for up to 3,000 students—predicted to create nearly 2,000 jobs alone.
With so much going on, it’s easy to get caught up in Moravec’s paradox and overcomplicate matters. We all want to knock competitors away like hail on wiper blades, but having fingers in a lot of pies is, from my experience, not the way to do it. Often, it’s actually just about doing things better. While being in business can often feel like you’re teaching caterpillars to fly, if you stick to your knitting, understand your audience, market regime, and legal framework, it is surprising how easy it can be to get your point of distinction across in a way that impacts and has lasting value.
We founded Epoch Wealth Management in 2010 with a daring plan to focus on those whose lives we could transform. It might sound life-coachy, but this way, we could build the enterprise from the ground up with the client front and centre. Our mission and vision provided the short and long-reach ‘guard rails’ to ensure that we didn’t deviate from doing the right thing.
We then set about finding the best team to support us and develop our processes and an introducer network, to help fuel our organic growth.
What was missing was some serious software to enable us to help clients ‘count the numbers that count’ in a way which was both collaborative, as well as educational and dynamic. Ultimately, we built our own financial forecasting software business to run alongside the main practice.
We could now give clients laser-sharp clarity on where they were on their journey, what bumps lay ahead, and where they might end up, thus understanding the impact of decisions they make today on their family’s future. This was the final piece of the jigsaw and, several years later, both businesses have been acquired by highly respected and well-resourced businesses which can help us take the offerings to the next level.
The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views held throughout Brewin Dolphin Ltd.