We all know it’s common practice for people to make New Year’s resolutions and start them Jan 1. We also know that most folks revert back to their old behavior by the end of January.
I believe that the high failure rate of most resolutions is due to unrealistic expectations of our new endeavors.
Exercising is classic example: Many folks resolve to get into better shape and head to health clubs at the beginning of the month. But when they get to the gym, they have unrealistic expectations, push themselves too hard and burn out — or hurt themselves — by the end of the month.
Most folks would have better success with their resolutions if they started more moderately, by walking or climbing the stairs every day, for instance.
I’ve found that many independent advisory businesses owners go through this same “failure curve” at the beginning of the year. They see the first of the year as the right time to start new projects intended to grow their businesses.
They launch marketing and human capital plans, revise referral programs, add new services and so on. Unfortunately, their success rate is about the same as the average exercise program.
The problem is that firm owners start making changes without preparing their businesses to handle those changes.
A typical example, of course, is launching a marketing program to attract new clients before a business is positioned to handle more clients. There are also some firms that hire young advisors without a training program, add new services without testing whether clients want them and venture into a new business area without having any experience in it.
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