What You Need to Know
- The top firms know how to define success by answering five key questions.
- First ask yourself what kind of service you want to provide clients.
- Also, determine what kind of legacy you want to leave.
I’m celebrating 20 years as a consultant to financial advisors this year, and I’ve learned a lot about how to run a successful advisory firm in those two decades.
My own success has taught me some things, but much of what I’ve learned comes from observing how some of the industry’s best advisors grew their companies. These businesses understood how to define success, and they did so by answering five key questions.
In fact, when we talk about success with our clients, we often come back to the same five questions. No matter how long we’ve worked together, those five questions help guide our clients to the decisions on how to direct their advisory business.
It’s important to come back to the same questions, because consistency helps advisory firm owners assess if they’ve altered their own definition of success. If the benchmarking process is the same but the answers are different, we know change needs to happen in the leadership of the business.
When an owner’s definition of success changes, their culture often changes along with it. And keep in mind that the wealth management industry is changing rapidly — moving away from what it’s been for decades. When you find yourself in a rapidly changing environment, culture can make or break a firm.
Unfortunately, many leaders don’t realize they’ve changed — and as a result, they don’t realize they have to change their firm culture to continue to align with their definition of success.
With that said, these are the five questions to ask when you need to define what success means to you. Hopefully, these questions will help you celebrate and recalibrate your efforts going forward.
1. What kind of service do you want to provide clients?
Why do advisors decide to leave the comfort and safety of regular employment to start their own businesses? Largely because they have a desire to work with their clients in a specific way.
Their old employer, for whatever reason, didn’t give them the flexibility to provide client support in the way they thought was best, so they started a business to give themselves that control. Even though many advisors offer similar services, each advisor gets to decide on the unique way they deliver these services.
Understanding the kind of client service you want to provide is the first step to knowing what direction works best for your unique talents.
2. What kind of working environment do you want?
A working environment can also be described as a firm’s culture. Everything about how a company operates can impact its culture, from how much vacation time employees get to the expectations for working hours each day.