If you’re well-versed in the world of trading and are looking for a new entrepreneurial venture, starting your own online brokerage is an excellent option.
In 2022, the global online trading market was valued at $9.32 billion, and it’s estimated that it will grow to $15.34 billion by 2030.
But before you start seeing dollar signs, you need to consider the practical side of an online brokerage business and all that it entails with you at the helm.
Brokerage Industry Future Outlook
Brokerage is a blanket term that can apply to a wide variety of different legal services and intermediary responsibilities.
As such, the future of the brokerage industry depends on which aspect of brokerage you plan on building a business around.
Currently, the types of brokerages with the highest estimation of success include:
- Commodity broker
- Energy broker
- Associate broker
- Insurance broker
- Brokerage clerk
But while the above broker positions are projected to be the most financially stable in coming years, there’s no way to know for sure what the future will hold.
However, if you weigh up the below considerations upfront, have a clear plan, the relevant expertise, good connections, and decent capital, the chances are you can make it happen.
Online Brokerage Business Considerations:
- Startup capital, liquidity, and investors
- Company registration and legal requirements
- Establishing an online presence with a website and app
- Target audience and marketing strategies
- Customer relationship management
- Maintaining trader satisfaction, transparency, and customer retention
- Long-term growth planning and scalability
1. Startup capital, liquidity, and investors
Before you start your business, you need access to capital. That capital may come from yourself, from a bank loan, or, if you’re lucky, from an investor in exchange for a percentage of your brokerage company.
Don’t start drawing up any serious business plans until you have a solid plan for how you are going to fund your venture.
You’ll need access to enough capital to obtain all your legal registrations, rent out an office space, and tide yourself over until you have a consistent cash flow.
2. Company registration and legal requirements
The next step on your checklist for starting an online brokerage business should be registering your company as an official business.
Apply for any legal licensing and requirements you need in order to be considered a professional, fully operational business.
Prior to operations, your brokerage business must be approved by several regulatory bodies. Some of the most common ones include:
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
- FINRA's Investment Advisor Registration Depository (IARD)
- Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs)
- The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)
- FINRA's Central Registration Depository (CRD)
In addition to this, there may be other regulatory bodies your business requires, depending on the region, business size (e.g. small business), and sector of the brokerage industry.
Make sure to do your research on the relevant areas and organizational goals for your business.
3. Establishing an online presence with a website and app
When building any online business, your online presence needs to be clear, bold, and very easily identifiable. It also needs to promote trust and assure people you are an expert in your field, sector, or industry.
Establish your presence by building a user-friendly, functional website and a mobile app that appeals to a wide demographic of consumers.
If you’re building this from scratch, ensure you have a great development team, and if you’re using a white-label brokerage platform, a great designer can create a memorable logo and branding that you can use.
The more active you are online, the easier it will be to generate brand awareness, drive website traffic, and ultimately encourage people to join your community.
4. Target audience and marketing strategies
Once you have set up your business from a legal perspective, all that’s left to do is start operating as an active business.
And that means attracting clients—preferably with razor-sharp targeted digital marketing strategies that kick-start your client base and grow it rapidly, and with retention in mind.
If you lack experience in the digital marketing industry, consider outsourcing this aspect of your business to a professional.
A marketer with the right skills and connections to attract a wide online audience and utilize marketing strategies for enhanced visibility and cash flow is worth paying for.
As a new business, getting your marketing strategy right is crucial. You are in competition with other businesses that have had years, if not decades, of time to establish relationships with consumers.
But as a newcomer, you’ll have to work twice as hard.
Find your UVP, focus on advertising the services that make you stand out from other brokerage businesses, and establish yourself as a trustworthy, hard-hitting industry player.
5. Customer relationship management
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and in a brokerage, you need to treat your traders or investors as customers.
Prioritizing your relationships with them is one of the most important and effective ways for you to make sure your business withstands the test of time.
Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and use them to build strong connections with clients.
A CRM allows you to update all your trader's information quickly and easily, add notes and comments, and record interactions and feedback.
You can also use the system to send emails and messages, and you can personalize these per trader too.
6. Maintaining trader satisfaction, transparency, and customer retention
If you want to make your mark as a professional broker, you need to make the people you engage with very happy.
Customers, traders, and collaborators alike should leave interactions with your business feeling satisfied and eager to work with you again.
Read more about best collaboration tools for productivity.
You can achieve this by embodying the right social and soft skills, being very communicative and transparent about your position during negotiations, and, most importantly, being open to feedback.
7. Long-term growth planning and scalability
Your brokerage business may gain some traction now, but what is your long-term plan? Considering scalability, growth, and capacity for growth is another crucial element of online business management that you should already be thinking about.
As your client base and network grow, so will the need for a flexible infrastructure that can accommodate that growth.
Even if you aren’t able to invest in the tools or technology needed to maintain that growth right now, start developing a plan you can implement at a later stage.
As the demand for online stock trading platforms grows, creating and managing a successful brokerage business is an excellent option for the financially savvy entrepreneur.
Just like any startup, it may take some time to generate the necessary trust and traction for a real cash flow to develop, but once it’s there, maintaining it is slightly easier.
Make sure you start on a solid footing with strong initial capital, a clear vision for the future, and an omnipresent online identity that traders feel comfortable using.
With the right legal compliance, a customer relationship strategy, connections within the brokerage industry, and an excellent digital marketing strategy, you can grow your online brokerage into a thriving business.