I realize that ‘thinking outside the box’ has become a tired cliché. But what most people don’t realize is that we ourselves create the boxes that limit our thinking: our preconceptions often prevent us from exploring all the possible directions we could go in.
Owners of advisory firms are no exception. To help my clients break free of the boxes they create for themselves, I’ve created a short questionnaire that addresses the most common boxes that limit advisory firms. As we begin a new year, this is an excellent time for all advisory firm owners to take a look at whether they are limiting their firms by putting themselves into one or more of these boxes.
So lock the door, turn off your computer, mute your cell phone,sit back and take some time to consider how your answers to these three questions are limiting the growth and success of your business.
1) What would you do in your business if you knew it wouldn’t fail?
The fear of failure is the most limiting factor in advisory firm growth: not so much that the owners will look bad, rather that they will waste their limited time and resources and have nothing to show for it.
The most popular answer to this question is: ‘Hire more lead advisors!’ Additional advisors working with their own clients would not only increase the number of clients that the firm could take on (which would increase revenues), it would also give the firm owner(s) and senior advisors more time to focus on building a better firm.
But whatever your answer is, next consider the factors that make it likely to fail in your mind and what you could do to increase the chances of success. For instance, in the case of new lead advisors, we find that comprehensive training programs can dramatically increase the chance of success for both hiring lead advisors and advancing younger advisors.
2) What would you do in your business if money wasn’t an issue?
Again, limited resources is a major factor in the thinking of most firm owners. The No. 1 answer here is to create a marketing program; including a better website, an improved brand, more focused messaging, etc.
And it’s true: these things can be expensive, especially when you work with a professional marketing firm that creates an “8-step” marketing plan. Yet I’ve found that most marketing plans fail because they try to grow a firm too big, too soon.