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Crafting Your Unique Corner in the Market

Updated: May 22

A recent post by Dave Patriarche got me contemplating the significance of finding a niche within the financial services industry. It's a pursuit that's both daunting and rewarding, as I've personally experienced in my career.


Straight out of university, I was on the hunt for something unique to delve into. While the financial services sector seemed ripe with opportunities, narrowing down on a niche was no easy feat, especially in the early stages of my career. However, I can attest firsthand that having a singular focus has paid off immensely for me, particularly in the realm of employee benefits.


My foray into the insurance industry began unexpectedly when I crossed paths with Tim, who eventually became my business partner. He offered me an opportunity to assist with a newly acquired financial services block, primarily focused on group insurance. Despite my lack of prior knowledge in benefits, I was intrigued by the prospect of helping clients navigate this complex landscape.


As I delved deeper into the intricacies of employee benefits, I realized the vast array of services we offered, from group insurance to group RRSPs and health spending accounts. Amidst this plethora of options, I made a conscious decision to specialize in employee benefits, excluding life and individual insurance from my portfolio.


Navigating the insurance industry presented its own set of challenges, particularly obtaining the necessary licenses. While the licensing process primarily focused on individual insurance, I persevered and sought additional education through the International Foundation of Employee Benefits program. Achieving accreditations like the GBA designation and CEBS bolstered my confidence and solidified my expertise in the field.


Despite my initial focus on group insurance and RRSPs, a niche within a niche presented itself organically. Immersed in the administration of health spending accounts, I recognized the untapped potential in promoting these arrangements to small business owners. This strategic focus on spending accounts eventually led to the realization that there was a scarcity of providers in Canada, paving the way for a new business opportunity.


However, maintaining a niche focus wasn't without its challenges. Despite our success, there were constant pressures to expand into other areas of financial services. Yet, staying true to our singular focus proved to be the wisest decision, thanks to Tim's steadfast guidance.


In retrospect, the journey to niche specialization was arduous but immensely rewarding. It's a testament to the age-old adage, "there are riches in niches." While the path may seem daunting, finding a singular focus within the financial services industry can lead to unparalleled success.

Steve McEwan

COO & Co-Founder


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