Recently, I participated in a fundraiser with Crossfit (a gym I train at) called, well, you know, “Barbells for Boobs.” The focus was raising money for breast cancer. There were actually several Crossfit affiliates participating in the event so it was quite a showing. There were cheering fans and plenty of chicken noodle soup, coffee, hot chocolate, and raffle tickets.
Each athlete, with a partner, had to complete their workout or a “Workout of the Day” (WOD) as quickly as possible within 30 minutes. The workout consisted of the following:
400 meter run (you and your partner)
21 kettlebell swings (54 pound kettlebell, repetitions split between you and your partner)
12 pull ups (split with your partner)
Oh, and you do this routine for three rounds! Then, do 30 clean and jerks (that’s from the ground to over your head, 135 pounds, with your partner).
And you’re done. And I mean, you’re done!
My partner, Jerry, and I finished in 12 minutes, 9 seconds. I was hoping for making better time, but not bad.
We had a lot of fun, spent time with friends, got some “work” in, and raised money for a great cause. It doesn’t get much better than that. What I realized after we finished the routine (which will sound bad) is that it really wasn’t that tough. I know that “on paper” the routine above looks brutal and I’m certainly not saying it was easy or that we even put up the best time in the world (some finished in 9 minutes), but working with a partner really made the event easier than I thought it would be.
I think the same goes for almost every challenging thing you set your mind to. And yes, that goes for growing a successful business. If you’re a financial advisor, broker, rep, wholesaler, sales manager, recruiter, or any other type of sales producer, why go it alone?
If you can find a partner to help you lighten the load, how can it not make your work easier and more productive? Maybe more fun? Again, it really doesn’t get much better than that.
Here are a few thoughts to consider if you think forging a partnership in your business or practice makes sense.
1. Those that are good in areas you’re not
Although we didn’t plan it this way, when Jerry and I ran, he was slightly ahead of me which means he was prepared to do the lifts before I even arrived. When I (finally) did arrive, he started lifting kettlebells. He’d get to maybe 13 repetitions and I would complete the remaining 8. Then he would do 4 or 5 pull ups and I would get us to 12 before we ran again. The system seemed to work well.
If you can find another financial advisor or partner that can focus on the areas that you don’t and they contribute to the cause (growing the business) as a whole, it could be a great fit.
2. Those that share the same target market
If you have a target market (and why wouldn’t you?) that focuses on a specific industry, profession, market segment, or niche, who do you know (or who do you need to know) that does work in your target market?
Or, who do you know that works in a similar niche that might compliment yours? For example, if you work with physicians, it may make sense to partner with an advisor that works with dentists or some other area within health care. The possibilities are endless.
3. Those that have a different style
A friend of mine is a financial advisor at a wire house and runs a very successful practice. He’s very outgoing and loves attending networking events, cocktail parties, golf outings, and fundraisers. He brings in most of the business.
His partner is much more introverted and prefers to manage accounts and portfolios while communicating with clients by phone or email. There’s an expression in boxing: “Styles make fights.” If you know of a fellow advisor or rep that you like but who works differently than you, perhaps you can discuss an agreement that works for both of you. Styles make fights.
4. Those that have a similar style
The opposite can also be true! Maybe it would work better if you partner with someone that is similar in personality, approach, process, and style. It might be fun to go to events together or to each attend different events with the same goals in mind. Think of advisors that you may be friends with at your firm that might make interesting business partners.
5. Those that have a similar vision
A vision is your view of the world – your business, personal life, finances, fitness, sense of adventure, and family life in the future. Of course, a vision can simply focus on just one of these areas (a business vision) or any combination. Visions are usually based on a predetermined timeframe; “In five years, my financial planning practice will focus exclusively on helping….”
If you don’t have a vision statement, it’s not the worst idea in the world to write one. Visions are usually a component of formal business plans. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there? If your view of your future practice is the same as someone else’s, you may have found a partner. You could make working with a business partner part of your vision.
6. Those that have expertise with specific products
You may have a lot of knowledge and passion for life insurance products, annuities, mutual funds, long-term care, universal life, employee benefits, supplemental benefits or even property and casualty. You can expand your business by adding a partner, or series of partners, that already have licenses and expertise in areas you don’t. I know of financial practices that have become one-stop shops. This might factor back into your vision and additional resources for your clients.
7. Those that you admire
Is there an advisor at your firm (or someone else’s) that’s more experienced, more successful, and better looking (kidding) than you? There’s always the option of finding more of a mentor or someone that you can learn from and grow with.
You can factor in some of the ideas from above which might include shared or differing styles, visions, and approaches. It’s always helpful to keep a watchful eye on someone that’s a few clicks ahead of where you might be and working with that person might be the best way to learn, develop, and grow.
Partnerships can be worthwhile endeavors and can really be an effective way to grow a practice while adding value for your clients. Business partnerships can be either formal (a written contract) or informal (verbal, a handshake).
But it’s so important to find the right partner. Don’t just work with someone for the sake of it. The partnership has to be the right fit – as in you really need to like each other (a lot!) otherwise it simply won’t work. And it will be just that – work!
Who needs to be in your corner?