Advisors: Do You Have Clarity About Your Future?

It is a question I ask financial advisors every single day. Some advisers struggle with the question and ask me " do you mean personal or business-wise?". Top advisors have no problem answering this question because they have clarity about their future, both personal and business-wise. Do you have clarity about your future?

How do I get clarity around my future on paper?

This is an exciting time of year for me because I get to help financial advisors plan and get clarity for 2023. They get to plan what they want, to get out of their business. The amount of revenue they want to generate, the amount of time off, the number of flex days off, holidays, and lifestyle. They clearly understand that the more time off you take, it makes you more money, it makes you healthier and happier. I never need to convince an elite financial advisor to take more time off. The second part is understanding data. Key data or KPIs, key performance indicators to help them manage the business on a go-forward basis. They understand profitability ratios, productivity ratios in client selection ratios to make major decisions on how to move the business in the future. For more information go to  my friends Andy Grillo and Bevan Crodian have the deepest understanding of financial advisors' key performance indicators I have ever seen. 

What are your key numbers?

You have key numbers in your head on what you want to achieve. You know where your business is at today, but do you have a plan for where it's going to be 12, 24, and 36 months from now? If you are reading this article, please time block 1/2 to a full day in December to work on your business. Get everything out of your head and onto paper and get a solid plan that gives you confidence for 2023 in writing. Get your key numbers on paper and get clarity around your future.

What do I need for business planning?

Over the last 10 years, I have developed a "Comprehensive Financial Advisors Practice Management Program" (c) and it has five main components.

  1. Clarity - this is your business plan which contains the mission vision values and future direction.
  2. Growth- this is your marketing plan and marketing calendar and how you're going to acquire more ideal clients
  3. Processes- this is how you're going to service your clients and deliver more value in the future as well as building your process in writing to manage your business
  4. Team- this is your investment plan on how you're going to develop your largest investment, which is people
  5. Implement- these are the action steps that come from all of the key data that you collect on your business to help you make decisions going forward. It is your implementation schedule to help you reach your goals. just like a comprehensive financial plan helps your clients reach their goals, a comprehensive business plan helps you reach your goals

Project management process

This is where advisors get sidetracked. Have you been working on their business plan only to get sidetracked on projects that you want to get to? There are projects in each of the five categories. For example, in the clarity section, you might need to start planning a succession and transition plan. In the growth section, you might need to redefine who your ideal clients are and redefine a marketing niche. In the process section, you might need to do segmentation or implement new technology in 2023. You will definitely want to do feedback. In the team section, you may need to hire and train new staff because you're working past capacity. Just get everything on paper and then come down to a top-five list of major projects you would like to work on. Spending time on the sections will lead you to the major projects that you can map out on a quarterly basis to complete in the next one to two years.

Plan backward 

“Good design must primarily serve people. You cannot stay in one place: you either go forward or you go backward. If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate. “ Quotes from Thomas J Watson SR. who was President of IBM for 38 years. You need to envision where you will be in the future put it on paper and plan backward. This is what we call the clarity exercise. For example, if you are managing 100 million dollars and you want to get to 500 million dollars, then find financial advisors with $500 million and understand their path and how they got there. Is this the logical path you want to take? Can you see the logical path forward? I'm fortunate I work with all different practices at all different levels. I get to see the logical path forward. One final question to help you plan a great 2023. What is holding you back?

Related: Look Inside Your Practice To Grow as a Financial Advisor