What’s the secret sauce to achieving your goals? Does anyone know? How are you doing with getting to the (insert cliché here) next level? Have you done much planning for your business? The New Year is a time for great reflection on how far you’ve come, thinking about the goals you’ve achieved, and charting a course for the future.
Below is what I have seen as typical with advisors’ business growth in my capacity as a financial advisor coach since 2004.
0 – 4 years
Are you new to the field? Just getting your feet wet and adjusting to “being your own boss” or realizing that “hey, I only eat when I go out and get a new client.” At this stage you are getting licenses, learning the business, prospecting like a crazy person, and earning just enough to see the possibilities of recurring income in the years down the road. It may be dawning on you that at some point you’ll have to service clients rather than just getting new clients, but for the moment you know that you need to get income and clients coming in the door.
If you’ve been in the business five years or more you should have a pretty nice financial planning business percolating. You may have $10-30M or more in assets under management and a good following of clients. You may have established a good inventory of centers of influence to work with, refer to, and receive referrals from. Your business has yet to mature so that you can pre-sell your potential clients before they walk in the door, which requires a good look at your branding strategy. But the point is you are on the right track if you do the right things.
If you have ten years or more under your belt, you likely have $40-100M under management, which is a decent enough base to cover your overhead and provide a living for you and one to two assistants. You’ve got your prospecting strategies down fairly well and you may even have a marketing person on staff to assist you. Your firm has matured and the type of clients you prefer to work with has crystalized into a nice ideal client profile. But you might not be secure in deciding your future direction.
At this level, if you don’t have $100M under management, there is something wrong.
Either you have just been taking whatever business comes in the door or you’ve just never become intentional about your business.
If you do have over $100M, your business is bustling. You’ve got 5 or more staff members, a professional business model, a professional brand, procedures, job descriptions, an organizational chart. You’ve realized that when you invest in your skills, your staff’s skills, and your infrastructure, it pays off. But you still need that special someone to be your confidant.
If you have not achieved your business goals, what is going on?
Why haven’t you achieved more? Why are you still where you are? There comes a time where you must do something in order to make progress and changes in your practice. It becomes necessary to do something different so that you get different results. Don’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing. It’s not working.
Financial advisors generally all into 1 of 3 categories when it comes to growing their skills and income:
You don’t know what you should be doing so you continue plodding along hoping things will get better next year. You’re so focused on money that you don’t realize you will waste years figuring out the right ways to develop your business.
2.Read a few books or attend a conference or two
There are many books that can help you figure out your strategic direction, how to be more productive, and how to brand your firm. But there’s so much to do, how do you prioritize and do the right things first? When you get back from a conference, how much of what you learned do you actually put into practice? If you work with me you will do it!
3.Hire an expert, like me, in financial advisor growth
Save yourself years of wasted effort! Don’t plod through the years doing the wrong things, half-heartedly, only to discover you’re no further ahead than you were 5-10 years ago. Instead of focusing on what you think will work, find out from an expert what REALLY works based on experience going back to 2004.
Most people cannot grow their income without the help of an outside expert providing strategies, direction, and motivation.
As a result, advisors who “go it alone” often flounder, for years, until they learn the skills, tips, and tricks necessary for financial success. And sometimes they never acquire the skills so they stay stuck in a low paying business model or in a business that don’t grow.
What lies ahead for you will depend entirely upon how much you are willing to invest in your skills!