Many advisors start looking for solutions before they determine what their problem is, or if action of any sort is even necessary. Without a clear vision of your current picture and goals, there is no way to establish the appropriate actions. Begin by asking yourself: Do I need or want to grow? If yes, what do I want to accomplish? What is the delta between where I am and where I want to be? What people, systems, platform, products, and services will I need to add or gain access to in order to achieve my goals?
2. How Much “Pain” Am I Really In?
Making a change is not easy, so the value add must be significant. If you feel like your growth is being hampered in your current environment, a change would be in your best interest and that of your clients. When looking to change firms, or partner with another firm, be clear on what you want to achieve beyond growth. Assess your personal, professional, economic and long-term goals.
Determine what you are willing to give up and what you must have, and create a list of tough questions. If a change is the best course of action, be relentless about securing the “must haves,” but be flexible on the rest.
3. Can I Achieve My Goals at My Current Firm?
The path of least resistance, naturally, is to do nothing at all. If you can achieve the growth you want by remaining at your firm and relying on your current systems and infrastructure, then you are in good shape. Consider also if your pipeline of new business is likely to get you to where you want to be in the near term, and if you can service your clients the way you want to with your present resources. If you feel that you cannot achieve the growth you are seeking at your current firm, then you may need to look elsewhere in order to achieve your goals.
4. Who Can I Trust to Guide Me?
The most successful advisors get counsel when considering how to best grow their businesses. It’s important to identify people you trust who can add their expertise and insight to your thought process – in essence, your personal Board of Directors. These people can include attorneys, CPAs and other centers of influence, and certainly recruiters and consultants who are objective, know your business and can act as a confidant and sounding board.
5. Where do I start to explore?
If you’ve determined that you need to explore your options, you will find that the advisory landscape has changed dramatically in recent years and there are more high quality alternatives to consider than ever before. You will want to narrow your focus to a short list of firms that could offer succession planning, superior client service, access to greater resources, monetization opportunities, acceleration of growth, greater enterprise value, etc. In the end, 1 1 must equal 3 for any change to be worthwhile.
Clearly there are a number of ways for advisors to achieve growth - the key is gaining the clarity to determine what is most important about growth for you before you start exploring options. To maximize your opportunities, be bold in your thinking and don’t let inertia or fear keep you stuck in your comfort zone. With proper guidance and counsel to grow, you can be prepared for the future and power your business to the next level and beyond.