Our why (in story form)...
Greater Good Financial has been a passion project of mine. I have spent the last two years of my life ankles deep into building a business model that (as far as my research shows) does not exist currently in the financial industry. Our goal is to create a financial firm that positively affects the world in every way possible and also sparks a movement of change.
We want to be a financial firm you can be proud to be a part of.
With that as a foundation, here’s the story…
Phase one of this new business model is implementing a new lower fee schedule. Since Greater Good Financial is a relatively small business (personally I am a family of 6), we couldn’t simply lower fees for current clients in one fell swoop. Instead, we have lowered current client fees (as appropriate) as new revenue has been generated.
$1,000 in new revenue = $1,000 in fees being lowered for current clients.
One by one, I’ve made calls to my current clients to explain this new business model and also to let them know I would be lowering their fees (and eventually donating 20% of the revenue received). As expected, everyone loves lower fees so everyone seemed pretty excited about this idea. No one objected to having their fees lowered.
Until one day, someone did…
One day I get a call… “Dan, I know you just lowered my fees but actually… we’d like you to raise them back up.”
Me- “What?? That doesn’t make sense. I can’t in good faith charge you more than others. I truly appreciate your offer but I just can’t do that.”
That day I went home to tell my wife this story. One of the many reasons why I love my wife is because she sees my blind spots.
“Do you realize that you just said no to someone who wants to support you? To someone who wants to be generous? To someone who believes in your mission?"
"Do you realize you just said no to someone who embodied the exact spirit of generosity that you had hoped to spark with this business model?”
This is the part that is difficult to express.
I have spent years creating a business model so that we can inspire change in others. So that collectively, we can use business as a force for change in the world.
Help others. Give to others. Help the world. Be the change you want to see in world...
There is a theme… Others
I wasn’t prepared for how this would affect me!
Here I was, calling my client back and tripping over my words because I didn’t know how to express the amount of gratitude I had. Not just for their generous offer, but for who they are as people.
Here I was, looking up to my clients in admiration.
I had spent two years building this business model, not realizing how incredibly humbling of an experience this would be when it actually worked! I was not prepared to feel like a little kid who just met his favorite sport hero.
A few months later I got another call.
“Dan, will you raise my fees some more…”
As a business owner and professional, I have certain images and standards in my head of what a client relationship should look like.
I never expected to be speechless when talking to a client. I never expected to have such a deep sense of gratitude that this amazing set of people chose to work with me.
I work extremely hard to give my clients the best service possible. After these interactions, I feel compelled to dig deeper, work harder and give even more of myself to my clients.
I don’t intend to tell you this story as a form of self promotion. I tell you this story because of the connection and emotion it created. This connection is what I believe is lost in so many business / customer relationships.
When a business looks at a customer as just a customer, it becomes easier to justify decisions for the good of the business. When a business looks at at a customer as a human being and hopefully a friend, it is easier to build a business that values purpose over profits.
Greater Good Financial was created to provide a different type of client / financial planner relationship. It was created so we can have a mutually connected relationship, not only with each others but with the people we are able to help with our 20% donation model.
I have always looked out for my clients. This whole interaction made me realize how much I look up to my clients too.
If you have any similar stories or know of other businesses that value people over profit, we would love to hear from you! Tell us more!
The image I have always had of the financial planning industry was that the client looks up to the planner for their knowledge, their expertise and their ability to always have a professional answer to your financial questions.