Happy New Year! I’m back in the swing of things and getting the hang of running my business after taking a nice break over the holidays. We all need time off. This is when our minds can regenerate, reflect on past successes, and we can enjoy time with family and friends.
Now, let’s focus on growth. What are your plans for growth this year? Are you looking to add six figures or more to your financial planning practice income this year? Or are you stuck in a rut, looking up from inside a deep hole, or standing in place? If you need to get a move on with your client, asset, and skill growth this year, then this article is for you.
Let’s say you want to grow your income in 2014. How are you going to do that? What does your 2014 Business Plan say about where you’re headed? What’s your STRATEGY for growth? You can’t just wave a magic wand and hope for the best. You must become strategic about how you’re going to grow.
First, it makes sense to create goals for 2014. Figure out what you want to achieve. Successful people have goals and aspirations and they make time to set intentions. Goals are a type of intention.
Any time you want to take your business farther than you’ve gone before, it makes sense to analyze what you want to do. When you can break down your big goals into smaller achievable goals, you’re on the right track. If you can then assign a monetary strategy to achieve each smaller goal, you’ve hit the jackpot!
Big picture goals
I call goals are those that are a HUGE stretch big picture goals. They are all about where you see your firm in five to ten years. Big income, big results. The book you want to write. The people you want to keep company with. The dream vacations and time off.
If your goal is to grow income 50% this year and in the past you’ve grown 5% year over year, then I’m sorry to tell you that it’s unlikely you’ll reach that goal in ONE YEAR. Fifty percent growth is more likely a big picture goal for your firm.
These are goals that you can realistically achieve over the next one-year period. The blog post series you want to write. The number of new clients you want this year. The credentials and skills you want to acquire. The centers of influence you want to develop relationships with. The events you would like to hold.
Now that we’ve cleared up the meaning of big goals and realistic goals, let’s discuss strategies for growth. Here are three strategies to grow a financial firm in 2014:
1. Sell more services to your existing clients
It takes a lot more effort to go out and market and sell to people who don’t know you because they are not already in a relationship with you. What additional financial services could you offer existing clients?
Have you ever surveyed your clients to find out which services they would like you to provide? You might be surprised to find that your affluent clients would appreciate tax-planning services. You might find that some of your clients would use real estate investment planning services.
Do your clients worry about their children being financially successful? What services can you offer clients to not only help their children, but also form a deeper bond with the likely beneficiaries of your existing assets?
2. Penetrate a new market
Are you mainly working with individual clients who could be classified as “retirees”? Are you taking any new client who walks in the door? If so, you may need to penetrate other target markets.
Nobody likes a generalist. Think about it: if you were an entrepreneur, would you be more willing to hire an investment manager who handles finances for everyone with a pulse or someone who specializes in helping business owners?
Clients want to know if you’ve worked with someone who has their challenges. Business owners have plenty of challenges. They need to attract high-achieving employees to ensure their business reaches new heights. They need to minimize taxable income, legally. They need to minimize many types of risk. How can you design a program that helps a new market with their biggest points of pain?
You can also go deep in an existing market. If you’re working with Generation X clients, how about adding Generation X business owners to your target market? Or even Generation X technology business owners. Look at your existing clients for examples of how you can go deeper.
3. Implement new marketing tactics
It’s a new year and you’ve decided to penetrate a new market. What new marketing tactics can help you achieve your strategic vision?
Let’s say you’ve decided to go deeper in an existing market. How can you reach that market? Where do people in this market congregate? Hang out with this market where they happen to be. There’s nothing better than being “right there” when people need you. If you can be THE financial planner for gays and lesbians, just think about how much easier it would be to get referrals.
What conferences can you attend where you can rub elbows with a new audience? Here’s a listing of possible conferences. What new marketing collateral do you need to bring with you? Do you need a new business card for this target market? (The answer is yes.) Do you have a page on your website that speaks to the challenges of this new market? Do you need a new website just for this market?
When was the last time you put on your creative hat to brainstorm new marketing tactics? When was the last time you held a client appreciation event? When was the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone? What’s it going to take for you to raise the bar on your potential?
Come on. It’s time to do it. Get intentional with your business. Plan it out. Create big picture goals and achievable goals. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable actions. Identity how you’re going to grow. Break out of inertia by taking action.
What are your plans for growth this year?