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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Put Your Own Mask On First

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General George Patton once said that “in combat, there aren’t nearly as many fatigued divisions as there are fatigued divisional commanders.” During a crisis, people in responsible positions tend to over work themselves, and the problem is that you can’t help anyone if you don’t take care of yourself first. That goes double for financial advisors during down markets like this one.

Advisors these days are burning the candle at both ends, rewriting financial plans and projections, managing client portfolios, and hand-holding their clients. All of these things need to be done, to be sure, but you also need to find a pace that you can maintain indefinitely: Skipping workouts, meals, and sleep is a prescription for problems down the road. Advisors also need to keep from stressing themselves out if they’re going to help reduce client stress levels. While it’s import in financial plans to project how long this recession is going to last, when it comes to your own practice, it’s a far better strategy to run your firm as if this is the new reality, than trying to “just hang on” until things turn around.

If your practice revenues weren’t going to grow from their current levels–and I mean right now–what would you do? I’d suggest that you focus on operating within the current environment: making whatever cuts and adjustments are necessary to get your expenses under control, do what you can to add a manageable number of new clients, manage the workload on you and your staff, and do what it takes to keep employee moral high. The goal is to create a firm that works in today’s environment and is positioned to grow when the opportunity arises. There’s no better way to reduce your stress–and workload.