Is it time to re-invent your practice? Are you spending enough time working on your practice, rather than just working in your practice? If you hold the rank of captain or above, how much of your work should be done by Lieutenants and enlisted personnel? How much of your work should be done by majors and above?
Think of your practice as an “S” on its side, rotated clockwise. There are five stages of development:
Start-up — learning, licensing, developing a clientele
Survival — Making a good living, but substantially less than the top advisors.
Growth — Now you are sitting at the big kids’ table.
Maturity — Is your practice still growing, plateauing, or beginning to decline?
Transition — Are you planning to retire, or should you re-invent your practice and begin another “S” curve?
How do you advance your practice to each next level? Don’t be a lone wolf. You need to partner, formally or informally, with others.
Getting from stage 1 to stage 2
To achieve the survival state, you need someone to service your existing clients and the centers of influence (attorneys, accountants, property and casualty insurance agents, bankers, etc.) you’ve cultivated, and to handle all of your paper work. Please don’t think of this person as an administrative assistant.
The individual needs to be your client (and COI) service manager. Hire someone, or share someone with others. This could be another advisor or someone less experienced than you whom you can mentor.
Please don’t think that you can wait until you can afford this person to hire him or her. To make more money, you have to spend some money. You have to invest in your practice.
Getting from stage 2 to stage 3
You need to build a team. Your existing clients (now considered “B” and “C” level) are holding you back from working with your newly defined “A” clients. This is the classic point where you are spending 80 percent of your time deriving 20 percent of your income.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “The service work is killing me,” them let your protégé or client service manager take care of your “B” and “C” clients. That leaves you more time to develop more ”A” clients and develop more centers of influence.
Getting from stage 3 to stage 4
You need to expand your team — starting with hiring one or more additional protégés to service your growing client-base.
In addition, you need direct access to case design specialists. Insurers’ home offices have great teams of experts. However, they work with a great many advisors.
You may be better served having the experts available to join you on appointments, in person. Waiting for home office experts to get back to you may no longer be acceptable.