October 30, 2013

Coaches’ Corner: To Achieve Your Goals, Advisor, First Build a Vision Plan

This is the first in a series of blog posts by Peak Advisor Alliance coaches that will address the major business issues faced by advisors. 

As I stood on stage at a recent Barrier Breaker Workshop, it occurred to me that the biggest challenge advisors face when goal planning is themselves. Every advisor knows they are supposed to have a business plan: a formal document stating the goals and action plan for achieving those goals. So why is it that so many of these plans start out written with such intent but end up forgotten and abandoned?  

I see this everywhere I go, whether it’s at Peak Alliance’s one-day workshops or in our national Excell meetings. Advisors feverishly script out their goals, ideas, and objectives only to see that these same grandiose ideas fall on deaf ears and gather dust on a shelf while the future, so eloquently described in the plan, never seems to materialize as hoped. 

What a business plan needs most is vision, which is why I coach advisors to create a Vision Plan. Creating a clear vision for your business takes thought. It is the one time you should think larger than you normally would and an opportunity to consider what you hope to ultimately see if you accomplished all your objectives. Most important, this vision needs to inspire you to wake up each day excited about the work that lies ahead. Without this inspiration, your Vision Plan will not sustain the successes and failures of your business. It will simply die out as a seed would without moisture. 

Don’t despair over what it will take to formulate your Vision Plan: it isn’t a 30-page document that will take you months to produce. Rather, your Vision Plan should simply and clearly focus on what you are building in your practice. 

Vision planning involves looking into the next three, five and 10 years. Start with the end in mind. Work backward to identify what you want each of the following categories to look like within each of these time periods:

  1. Revenue
  2. Assets under management
  3. Number of households
  4. Number of staff members
  5. Miscellaneous (e.g. net income, number of weeks off, number of A+ clients, etc.)

Next, fill in details for the three-year mark by identifying specific initiatives, strategies and action plans to achieve your vision. Once you have a strong understanding of where you want your business to be and how to get there, make sure you establish deadlines for yourself and set specific time aside to work on your goals.

This time is just as important to your business as converting your next high-net worth client. If you don’t make time to think on a high level, you’ll get lost in shuffle of everyday life. To help you get started today click here, enter the code “blue” and download the Peak Advisor Alliance Blueprinting Guide. 

Here’s something important to keep in mind: Business success is not always linear. A business may grow significantly early on and then taper off or plateau, but eventually become more efficient and profitable. Avoid getting stuck on what you think your business is supposed to be in relation to the goals of other advisors. Remember to stay true to your vision, and most important, don’t be afraid to dream big. People commonly overestimate what they can do in one year, but often hugely underestimate what they can achieve in a decade. Be realistic in the short term, and use your imagination for the long term. 

Make your vision clear to everyone in your office. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen advisors experience unprecedented growth simply because their team understood the “why” behind their goals. It creates excitement about the future you have envisioned and keeps others motivated to continue working towards that future. 

Yes, a lot goes into a Vision Plan, but the beauty of this process is that it all starts with one easy step I challenge you to take today: block out regular times on your calendar devoted to purposeful actions to execute your vision. This may strike you as common sense, but so few are willing to create that first ripple in the water.

Here’s to turning that ripple into a wave.

 

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