Oh, the stories we tell ourselves. How quickly and easily we fall prey to our own blind spots when we consider our business and how we intend to manage it.
It’s almost cliché that I’d say this: most people don’t jump in the car and start driving without first having chosen a destination. Even with a Sunday joy ride in your sports car, you’re planning on coming back home eventually. Yet, most advisors seem to be traveling down the road they’re on without any clear destination in mind. As a result, time is wasted, resources are squandered, and disappointments result. If only we knew where we’re headed, we’d give ourselves so much more opportunity for success and enjoyment along the way.
Ask yourself this question: “What does your business look like when it’s completed?” When you’ve finished building your business, what exactly does it do for your clients, your team and for you?
When you’re able to accurately describe your business in its mature, completed form, you create an opportunity to think accurately about how to build it successfully. You distraction-proof your mind and create massive efficiency in your daily routines when you know where points A and B are.
Consider these questions in order to narrow the destination of your business:
- Are you planning to sell your business outright (whether next week or 30 years from now), hire advisors to succeed you or ‘ride-it-down’ as a lifestyle solo practice? Your desired exit has everything to do with how you value your practice. For example, building it for a big future payoff may mean you see its value as a lump sum on your balance sheet, while the solo lifestyle practitioner may focus more on annual income.
- Do you plan to build a staff to support you, or a team of advisors to succeed you? While the answer doesn’t have to be limited to either/or, you’d be wise to consider who joins your firm and for what purpose. I’ve seen too many advisors add someone to both service existing clients and ‘sell’ to new ones, only to watch them end up doing one or the other, but not both. And unless this is managed well, that person often leaves frustrated because they never really became effective at either service or client acquisition.
- Who do you serve and how do you serve them? I wrote about this in detail last month and cannot overstate its importance. Building a practice for a very specific client creates so many leverage points. When compounded over many years, this leverage can create huge gains within your practice
Of course, the list of questions we could ask ourselves is endless. The exercise benefits us by becoming more and more focused on what it is we really want to accomplish. When we become more accurate in our thinking, we create the power we need to say “no” to those things that would cause us to veer off course. When we can do this, massive efficiencies are gained; it’s the power of doing more of less.
Nobody will do this work for you, so it’s up to you to choose to be accurate in your thinking and profit handsomely from the process.