The new owner of a large independent advisory firm called me the other day and asked if I would help him. His family was growing, he said, but his business wasn’t.
He talked about his business at some length and its success. When he stopped, I told him that I could see some areas where I could help him.
For starters, I pointed out that the business sounded as if it was maxed out with his current client base. If he wanted to add more clients, he was going to have to add to his advisory team (that was already complaining about workload) and his current clerical staff of two.
He responded that he couldn’t do that: More people would cut into his profit margin, which he felt was already too low.
Then he said that he just wanted my help to attract more clients, but he didn’t want an expensive marketing plan. So, I told him that for most advisory businesses the best “marketing” is usually helping train the other advisors to do some rainmaking, including networking at professional and social gatherings of people who typically need financial advisors.
He said he couldn’t do the training because most of those gatherings were in the evenings when he wanted to spend time with his family, and he “had” to be at the events with the other advisors.
Then, I gave another suggestion. I was met with more resistance. See a pattern here?
This blog is for advisors in the next generation of leaders who are now taking over many established independent advisory businesses — either as CEO or senior partner, or running businesses that they’ve started themselves.
The good news (for me anyway) is that many of them recognize that they can benefit from professional business help. In fact, they now make up the majority of my new clients, particularly ones in large firms.
The bad news is because many are charged with growing their businesses, the majority are reluctant to do things differently than either they or someone else did in the past.
As you many have guessed, this is not a formula for growth. And because this is so obvious it begs the question of, what are these new business leaders thinking?
After some thought, it occurred to me that while most of these CEO/owners may have the knowledge to run their businesses, very few of them have received any “mentoring” about how to do their jobs.
Here are some suggestions that I’ve found helpful in making young owners or CEOs more successful:
1) Take control of your time.
In my experience, the number one reason for not taking new initiatives in a business is that the owner/CEO doesn’t have time to work on them. Which leaves them — and their businesses — doing things the old way, and stuck with the old results.
It is a business leader’s job to do what is right for their business. This means they need to take the time to make decisions that are right for their business. And it’s their job to find that time.
If you’re bogged down with small stuff, get more help. If it’s because you’re wearing too many hats, take some off. When your business is small, you can be an advisor and still run the business. When your business gets larger, you have to pick one or the other.