February 7, 2014

‘Beautiful’ Ways to Grow Your Practice

Diversity. It’s key to U.S. demographics — and your practice. But what does that really look like when it comes to your marketing and business development?

Coca-Cola showcased its take on U.S. diversity during the Super Bowl. Featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in several languages, the TV spot (called It's Beautiful") has drawn the ire of some Americans who felt the advertisement was “unpatriotic.”

But the ad–which featured the grandmother and cousins of my Filipino-American neighbors in the Bay Area–is all about understanding what diversity really means within our rapidly diversifying nation. It's also meant to encourage us to reach out to others and embrace people who love their families and cultures, which have different roots but share a common dream: building a prosperous life and future in the United States.

Such a dream is probably easy for most advisors to relate to. But how do you draw clients and business partners of different ethnic and other backgrounds to your practice?

One way is to pay attention to special occasions, like Chinese New Year (Jan. 31) and Philippines Independence Day (June 12). Attend a community celebration, organize a webinar, luncheon or special newsletter.

You could also use such days (and events) as an opportunity to talk about investing overseas or what’s going on in emerging markets like China or Mexico. If you’re not sure who to reach out to in your community, ask the mayor’s office or a local chamber of commerce.

It’s often surprising to see how truly diverse your community is. I was surprised to find out the head of diversity for the health group Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Ronald Copeland, an Air Force veteran, lives in my neighborhood and volunteers regularly at a local housing project that serves those who’ve served our country.

Imagine inviting a community leader like Copeland to your office to speak during Black History Month or around Veteran’s Day, for instance. And what about reaching out to a local high school to see if a teacher or student leader is worth featuring in an e-mail list or newsletter in which your express your support of a community event or project tied to diversity?

National Small Business Week is coming up in mid-May. Did you know that immigrants started 28% of all new U.S. businesses in 2011, though they accounted for just 13% of the U.S. population? Reaching out to small-business owners of different backgrounds between now and mid-May could be another great way to broaden your client base.

The list of ways to further embrace diversity in your practice can go on and on. If you really want to get your clients talking about this important issue, hopefully in a constructive way, post a link to the Coca-Cola ad in your next newsletter or on your website.

Not everyone may share your enthusiasm for it, but that free discussion is part of what makes America beautiful.

For another take on advisors and diversity, see ByAllAccounts' Cynthia Stephens' latest blog on ThinkAdvisor.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.