It’s time to hear from another one of our amazing clients that we had the opportunity to work with over the last few months. As a part of our “Financial Advisor Website Show Case” series, we had the chance to catch up with Schad TenBroeck, founder of Sequoia Financial. Want to hear what he has to say about the web development process? Keep reading to find out more!
To kick things off, how did you decide to start Sequoia Financial and what was your biggest inspiration?
I knew as soon as I started my career as a self-employed insurance agent and saving on my own that I eventually wanted to help people with the full scope of their financial plan. In my work, I found that clients often needed help with areas of their financial lives that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) address with an insurance product. I knew that saving and investing in low-cost index funds over long periods of time and spending as little as possible on the appropriate amount and types of insurance was probably the best solution for most people. I thought that everyone knew this, but that’s not what I found that many of my clients were doing.
So, many people have come into my office with poorly designed portfolios, high-fee investments, expensive insurance that didn’t address the need it was meant for, no idea of their own net worth or cash flow, no estate or tax plan, and the one thing they all had in common is that they wanted help. Often, they were sold some of these products by people calling themselves Financial Advisors. To summarize, I saw a need that wasn’t being addressed.
The inspiration to start Sequoia Financial when I did, came from a decision to start doing exactly what I wanted to be doing with my life. I had been telling people around me that I was thinking about opening an Investment Advisory Firm and I was surprised with the interest that I received.
I researched industry pillars like Michael Kitces and read books, talked the idea out with past and present insurance clients, business partners, and anybody that I could talk to in the financial services industry. I spent almost a year doing research until one night, I couldn’t sleep and I stayed up all night writing the first draft of my business plan. Fast forward a year, and I’m a few months into providing financial planning and investment advisory services to new clients every week.
We noticed that you serve a VARIETY OF CLIENTS. How did you decide upon these particular niches that you wanted to work with?
I have served a wide variety of clients in insurance, so I picked a few of the niches that I am most familiar with. I will narrow these down and possibly even change them to be more specific so that I can better market to the type of clients that I find I enjoy working with.
We love the beautiful images of the Sequoia trees on your website, and the sense of peace that they bring when landing on your page. How did you decide to incorporate the natural aspect on your site?
Visalia is located right outside of Sequoia National Park, which is also one of my favorite places in the world. My idea for the website was a natural forest look to reflect the upper areas of the park. I wish that I could take the credit, but the way that it turned out was really due to the talented designer, Maya, taking my vision to the next level and doing an amazing job with it. I also like the feel and the functionality of the design.
If you could describe your business in just 3 words, what would they be?
Personal, local, and growing.
Whether it’s personal or work-related, what are 3 tools or items that you cannot live without at work?
My calendar, laptop, and a legal pad.
Marketing is a huge part of the financial industry this day and age, especially with how quickly the field is changing. What is the best piece of marketing advice that you ever received and why?
Keep trying. I have been learning and practicing marketing my entire career and I have tried everything imaginable. From drip marketing to pay-per-click to tried and true networking; it all works, but you have to find what works for you and your budget.
In your free time, what do you like to do or what are your passions?
When I am not spending time with my family or working and learning about personal finance I like to spend my free time exercising, hiking, or camping. Soccer has been a passion of mine my entire life and I really enjoy Olympic-style weightlifting and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Twenty Over Ten has taken our online marketing to the next level with this website. The entire process was enjoyable, well thought out, and very professional. We were beyond thrilled with how well it turned out and love what the designer was able to do with our vision.
– schad tenbroeck, sequoia financial
Where do you see the financial industry headed in the next 5-10 years?
I believe that we will see more of a shift to the fee-for-advice model and further compression of fees in the financial space. There is still a lot of room to be made on fee compression in regards to 401(k) and 403(b) plans.
Also, as the research comes out, it’s been fascinating to see the financial behavior changes of this next generation of investors that I am a part of and I think that will continue in regards to choosing lower-cost index funds. This could even lead to a new crop of stock-pickers finding value in a market dominated by indexes.
I am very excited about the future of the financial industry and I think that there is a generation of investors coming of age that is too.
What is your best piece of advice that you would share with other financial advisors who may be considering building a new website?
Do your research, consult an expert, and find a designer or a company whose work you really admire. Your website is as, or even more, important at making a statement to your potential clients than your physical office. It is not limited by walls and location and you are completely free to make it reflect your vision of the company and your website will be viewed many more times over your office if you do it right. I would also suggest using a tool like Google Analytics to monitor the success and progression of your website.
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