"Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day." - Zen
My team and I at Pareto Systems speak with literally hundreds of financial professionals each week and we hear firsthand what they’re hoping to achieve in the future. Some goals are quite common, while others are counter-intuitive. On any given day we will speak to an advisor who aspires to more and wants to grow their business, and then on the very next call we will speak to another advisor who strives for contentment and wants to simplify their life.
At the 30,000 feet perspective, on virtually every call we can categorize each advisor into one or more of these three areas:
- Explore - meaning the advisor wants to conduct a strategic analysis to identify untapped opportunities and overlooked vulnerabilities
- Evolve - meaning the advisor wants to break out of the status quo and make the refinements necessary to get to the next level of efficiency and profitability
- Expand - meaning the advisor wants to develop personally and professionally to achieve greater fulfillment and predictability on a daily basis.
When we drill down on our calls and uncover the core motivators, these are the most common goals advisors share with us:
- Right-size their business to restore liberation and order to their lives as they focus on their best clients
- Transition to a fee-based model in a professional manner so that clients focus on what the advisor is worth rather than what he or she costs
- Align with another advisor to create scale, efficiency and a 1+1=3 environment that is more profitable and fulfilling
- Be better prepared for market volatility to ensure they thrive rather than just survive in any market conditions
- Buy a business from a retiring advisor and predictably integrate it into their existing business
- Switch to a different firm where the culture and core philosophy are complementary to the advisor’s
- Sell their business for maximum profit by amplifying the proprietary assets beyond just ‘Trailing 12’
- Create Organization and Structure to unlock efficiency and profitability
- High Level Client Acquisition by attracting like a consultant, rather than chasing like a salesperson
- Developing Outstanding Branding so that the advisor is perceived and described as a professional with a process.
Two Rules Top Achievers Never Break
- They don't wing it.
- They don't wait for conditions to be perfect.
The most enlightened advisors understand the harmony between planning and taking action with a sense of urgency. Substantial goals after all, are achieved by design not by chance.
“Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty” – Confucius
When an advisor comes to us with a vision for how they want their business and life to look in the near future, the key mindset we want to support is to get out in front of the issue and proactively drive it with a methodical and sequential plan. Of course that's a lot easier to talk about than it is to actually do, but time and time again we see firsthand how success is achieved by letting disciplines compound over time. We all know the rule of 72, but it's not just money that compounds, disciplines compound as well. So too does neglect. If you have a vision for how you would like your life and business to look in the next 12 months, it is essential that you break down the necessary actions and chip away at it over time. This puts you on a trajectory that enables you to make mid-course corrections quickly so that you don't drift off track.
Successful advisors with serious mileage and experience will tell you that meaningful change takes longer, requires more resources, and is more difficult to execute than expected. To that end they understand that there can be a very positive power that comes from negative thinking. Just as a savvy investor knows that it's dangerous to think "It's different this time", the advisor who aspires for bigger and better things has to temper their optimism and know that external dependencies may not always cooperate. And overcoming that adversity makes the achievement that much more meaningful.
If it is to be it is up to me!
Those are quite possibly the 10 most powerful two-letter words ever put together in one sentence. And that is what separates the best advisors from the rest. They take action, and they take responsibility for their outcome. They don’t blame conditions or wish things were better. They strive to become better.
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson