I just returned from San Francisco, one of my favorite cities in the world, after attending FPA Business Solutions conference. This gathering is my favorite event of its kind because it speaks to a very core element for today’s financial planner: what do I need to know to make my practice better and more importantly, how do I implement it?
All too frequently, our profession (and many others) concentrates on knowledge and general operating strategies, but spends little time teaching and training practitioners on how to survive, and as importantly, thrive, in the business aspect of their practices. This conference is dedicated to helping planners stay abreast of the latest developments in technology and marketing and also brings speakers who can address client management techniques or provide thought-provoking ideas for other key areas of running a practice. This is not a one-time event or learning curve for planners. Technology is rapidly changing and the correct choices can make the difference between being efficient and profitable—or neither one. We also try every day, with little to no guidance, to be excellent employee relations managers while, at the same time, being savvy, well-informed financial planners. There are experts and shared knowledge that can help us avoid the pitfalls of everyday business management.
Professionals in the medical and legal fields have often conveyed that they wish that their schooling had specifically addressed how to actually structure and operate a practice. They recognize that in many cases, this could have expedited or increased their success, and reduced the stress that resulted from poor or limited business training. And there is plenty of research to suggest that a stressed practitioner, in any field, is a less effective provider of services and one who may be more prone to making mistakes. Do we really want our surgeons (or airline mechanics, for that matter) stressed out about basic business operations? I don’t think so…and the same should be said for our financial planners.