At some point in your career, you will probably wrestle with the question of why you’re in business: Who is it that you exist to serve?
How big of a fish do you want to become, and in what size pond?
Should you set out to grow a large, multi-advisor practice, with staff, multiple offices, and all of the bragging rights that come with impressive production numbers? Or, does a lifestyle practice, tailored to meet your needs, while also meeting the needs of a select number of clients satisfy your definition of success? Failing to answer this question confidently can ultimately lead to a very unhappy advisory firm, and an equally un-satisfying life.
So, let’s tackle the core issue head on: “Is Bigger Actually Better For Your Practice?” Admittedly, I have my own bias, but no matter which side you’re on, and no matter what you ultimately decide, I think you’ll agree that this discussion is an incredibly valuable one to have.
Am I the only one who feels like asking this question out-loud puts me in a position of industry heresy? Questioning the grow-at-all-costs dogma seems to carry with it a hint of defeatism, as if trying to avoid the common conception that “he who cannot grow, must resign to staying small.” Honestly though, I think we’re smarter than that. I think we’re more than capable of having an adult discussion about the right size practice for our unique skill-sets and desires.
Truthfully, the desire to grow a large practice needs no defense. This is what you’re hearing about all the time. Everywhere we turn, our advisory world is promoting big business mentality. Carriers, investment managers, and custodians all seemingly have one speed they’d like us to move as we promote their services: full throttle.
And why shouldn’t they? After all, the growth model allows for more product innovations, greater talent acquisition, and economies of scale. But as independent advisors, is this really what we want? Does the big-firm mentality really match the dream we have for our business and for our life?
If I’m being honest with myself, that’s not me. Is it you? I entered this business to truly be independent, in order to make decisions that are best for my clients and for me. I do not have a boss or shareholders to satisfy. I do not place any agenda above that of my clients’ and my own.