You are a financial adviser and your main focus is to manage the wealth of your clients. You are also the owner and CEO of your company. Both roles require specific skills and focus. How can you find optimal balance?
One of the biggest hurdles that can lead to many a company’s struggle or demise is that most people are either strong in one role or the other, but not both. Although you may be a highly competent financial adviser, operating and owning a successful business may not be as easy as you thought.
Whether you own a newly established practice or have been in the business for many years, this struggle can limit your success. Being aware of this obstacle and having the tools to solve it will play a crucial role in your success or failure.
So, how can you not just manage, but create a flourishing symbiotic relationship between the two roles?
The good news is that finding the balance of being a successful financial adviser and business owner is very achievable, without overextending yourself. Doing so will require planning, a competent support team and guidance.
Let’s take a look at the fundamental responsibilities of each of your roles:
- Developing or approving standard operating procedures (SOPs)
- Creating sustainable success and growth
- Making major strategic decisions
- Managing overall operations and resources
- Maximizing financial success
- Providing leadership
- Being the main point of communication with other senior officers or team members
- Working directly with clients and prospects
- Assuring client satisfaction
- Maximizing prospect generation
The Importance of SOPs
How can these two roles be unified and focused in a harmonious way? How do you achieve this without exhausting yourself by working unreasonable hours, skimping on vital tasks of the company or not completing your responsibilities to your clients?
The most thriving practices have strong core standard operating procedures. These same core standards can help you achieve success in both your role as CEO and financial adviser. Most long-term coaching members share with me that they are great at creating plans for clients, but when we first met, they did not have a five-year plan for their business. They had lists of goals or revenue desires, but not a detailed plan to achieve them. Through our CEO track, advisers learn that there is no quick fix. You need a blueprint to develop a multiyear operating plan. After we identify the backbone of what’s necessary, the project becomes less stressful. Your business becomes more focused and your actions more deliberate.
Like other success stories, your solution starts by taking the right steps to create an overall plan for achievement. Here are three items that you can work on now to include in your operating plan: A strategic plan for 2021, specific items that will develop your professional support team and your plan for professional development.
Strategic Planning for 2021
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” You may have heard this quote time and time again. Have you done anything about it? Do you have a plan for next year? Now is the time to work on this.
A critical part of your success is creating, understanding and using a business/operating plan for 2021. You need a plan that clearly defines the strategic objectives of the company and the actions that will need to be taken to achieve those objectives.
As a financial adviser, it is your responsibility to help your clients define and realize their goals and needs. In order to do this, you must first follow your own advice: define your own goals and objectives and then set the foundation of success for your practice. This is a very specific business so the more specialized the advice, the better. Also, be careful of the trap of trying to follow someone else’s success unless your practice is identical to theirs. The planning process of your practice is a role that both the business owner and financial planner in you must complete.
Developing Your Professional Support Team
Your most important asset as a business owner is human capital, also known as your professional team. Your team members are who you delegate vital tasks to. They are responsible for positive interactions with your clients, maintaining and cultivating the vision and mission of your practice and to upholding the ethics and integrity of your business. Your professional team is an indispensable feature of your company.
Your role is to be a leader they can confidently represent. You need to cultivate a workplace environment that encourages positive attitudes with growth-based and client-centric activities. Do your team members have identified career paths and roles? Do you have established levels of authority? Are you fully aware of what you can delegate to your team? Are they properly trained to do these things?
Whether it’s one person or many people, now is the time to find a strategy that can set your team up for success, so in turn, they will help you be successful.
We can all use guidance in so many aspects of our lives. Advisers are no exception to this rule. The best athletes have coaches. Corporate CEOs have trusted advisers. The best businesses do not reach their full potential without the help and guidance of mentors and trainers. In this industry, there are many financial adviser coaches and trainers. We have found one of the main areas many other coaches fall short in is offering the advisers proven strategies and business operating tools that have generated success for practices similar to theirs. One size does not fit all. Motivation is helpful but motivation without a proven track to run on will not maximize your business. A great professional development program meets you where you are and takes you where you need to go. Find one that works best for you.
2021 is going to be a prime year for advisers to help investors. There will be numerous reasons for investors and savers to seek guidance. Market volatility, economic uncertainty, potential new tax laws and new ways of conducting business have created a great opportunity for financial advisers to cultivate new business and solidify existing clients.
Work on finding your financial adviser/business owner balance now, so you can enter 2021 organized, focused and ready for success. The amount of effort you put into your plan NOW will put you in one of three categories: optimal, mediocre or marginal. Which one do you want to be in? Are you ready to take your practice to the next level? Can you imagine making 2021 your best year? Don’t procrastinate…make it happen!
Ken Unger is a 40-year industry leader who is the founder of the Academy of Preferred Financial Advisors. He is a highly respected coach for top advisers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Academy for Preferred Financial Advisors at www.theAPFA.com. If your goal is to run a thriving practice, then having qualified guidance will be vital for your success, contact Unger.