Building a team is a complicated endeavor. Bringing more people under your business umbrella means you are expanding your capacity, capabilities and range of services, but it can also feel like clouding what once seemed like a very straightforward approach: providing your clients with services that only you—and you alone—could offer.
I’ll save the benefits of building a team for another blog (we outline many here) but suffice it to say that, for successful advisors, the benefits of having a team in your corner far outweigh the benefits of going it alone. But how do you know if you’re making the most of it? Whether you are in the process of building your team, or you have already built one, carefully consider the following questions to ensure that you are really getting the greatest impact from your investment in human capital.
QUESTION 1: Have you clearly identified your team members in terms of their roles?
You should be very clear on the roles, and therefore the responsibilities, that each of your team members hold. Are there members who are specifically financial advisors, financial planners, investment or portfolio managers, advising specialists (including tax advisor, legal advisor, retirement specialist, insurance specialist, etc.), and operations specialists (including COO, compliance specialists, CFO)? Who on your team provides backing for these team members in the form of administrative or executive support? Are these roles static or fluid depending on the client or situation? While they may change, you should be clear and specific about how they change so that there is always structure around these roles.
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This will clarify: Exactly which services you are providing and whether or not you have all your bases covered within that. Start by identifying the skill set of each of your team members and fill in what you need to develop as you go along.
QUESTION 2: What is the structure or model of your team?
Is your team a vertical team with one CEO and multiple partners, a horizontal team with multiple partners managing the team together, or an ensemble practice where advisors share overhead expenses, but not clients?
This will clarify: How you should best interact with one and other and what types of power-structures guide the processes of the team. Taking a step back to look at your structure will allow you to evaluate if you are collaborating with your team members in a manner that is consistent with the vision you have for your team.
QUESTION 3: How would you characterize the primary way the team delivers your firm’s services?
Do you provide: Financial Planning: personalized financial planning, retirement and estate planning, and investment management; Investment Advisory: investment strategy and advice, and monitoring of investment managers; Investment Management: investment recommendations, discretionary investment management, and trade execution; Wealth Management: comprehensive, integrated advice, including: tax, estate, financial planning, and investment management; or some combination of these services?
This will clarify: What, exactly, you provide to clients and how they can benefit from your services, which will help articulate your target audience and marketing strategy.