Here are a few of the goals professionals have opened up to me about in relation to re-setting their approach:
I want to restore liberation and order to my life. I’m tired of fire-fighting, micro-managing and babysitting.
You want to run the business so that it’s not running you, but it has to be more than a goal. You have to apply a process that helps everyone on your team to get the business out of their heads and into a playbook. It’s a process to turn your book into an actual business, rather than having just a book of business.
I don’t want any dead branches in my business. It’s time to prune the high- maintenance clients but I’m not sure where to start.
You’ve heard the expression that there are only so many seats on the plane and you have to respect that capacity? Right-sizing needs to be done and it needs to be done professionally and respectfully. It must to be based on mutual fit and, if done properly, you create capacity for more first-class passengers while ensuring an environment that affluent clients aspire to belong to.
I want to transition to a fee-for-service model but I’m nervous about how my clients will respond.
If clearly communicated as an upgrade, with tangible improvements to your client service model, your clients will focus on what you’re worth rather than what you cost. Later in this book, I’ll go into this particular transition in detail.
I want to stop trading my time for money and start building more equity value in my business.
When you de-personalize your business by going beyond raw talent and instead focus on your ongoing and progressive process, you can evolve from a production mindset to an asset mindset. Your business can be worth far more than it is today.
The gist of this is simple. A strategic planning process can reveal where adjustments and refinements can be made in your business. Few advisors I work with are way off track, or need dramatic wholesale changes to the way they conduct themselves.
Case in point, in our on-going practice management coaching with professional advisors, I often remind our clients of this simple fact: Being a great professional advisor, in and of itself, is no guarantee for success in this business. I have seen time and time again where the most effective advisors with limitless growth and progress potential aren’t necessarily the most sophisticated asset managers.
The common thread, however, is that they are the most effective at practice and relationship management.
History provides countless examples of the need to possess strong business acumen along with vital core skills. One of my favorites is the rivalry between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, two inventors who both made enormous contributions to society, but who had dramatically different outcomes in life. Edison’s company became General Electric, while Tesla sold his patents to Westinghouse and died alone and in debt.
While you can argue that Tesla was a better inventor than Edison, Edison’s business skills were far superior.
I will never trivialize the importance of being a skilled professional in your core solutions, but it is a given that you are effective there. My point is this: There is little correlation between how professionally skillful you are and how successful you will ultimately be in terms of unlocking your full potential.
The days of building the better mouse trap and the world beating a path to your door are long gone. Ongoing professional development to sharpen your skills is essential, but do you invest the same amount of time sharpening your practice- and relationship-management processes? They are of equal importance.
Many professional advisors I work with are successful, enjoy an impressive lifestyle and should be content, but many of them are still ambitious and are frustrated because they have hit a plateau. While every advisor’s scenario is unique, often the plateau stems from inertia confidence. Simply put, the advisor is busy repeating habits and patterns, and has been for an extended period of time. They are getting results, but they can raise the bar and achieve more.
Every advisor can drift into a rut when they haven’t stepped outside of their business to kick their own tires and assess where they can make refinements to their approach. This is especially important if you want to continually increase the quality of clients you are attracting.
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson