Becoming The Next Largest Independent Advisory Firm: 3 Keys to Success

Invest in your people and let them create

While pay is on the top of most peoples minds, self-fulfillment and job enjoyment can be a powerful tool to create a positive culture.

Investing in people’s development will set you apart.

Include feedback sessions at the start of your new career. Explain the importance of holding annual or semi-annual meetings.

Every employee should be willing to participate. Include your office and other team members. Don’t tell them what to do. Invite them to provide input. This includes their expertise as well as thoughts on specific issues. This is where they can be your greatest asset and your greatest help.

Listen. Provide constructive feedback. Focus on the issue at hand. Bring solutions. Allow for errors. Allow them to teach you. When things go wrong, replace excuses with a solution.

Don’t leave it to the last minute. Make it a part of your strategy and culture.

Create a culture framework for succeeding and growing

Sometimes we have an image or vision in our head and it can be one of the most difficult things to convey to others.

They may very well have their own.

While there are many characteristics that differentiate your firm, strategy and direction are some of the most important. Your strategic vision needs to be clear. You must know where you are going and how to get there.

We know this seems impossible. Many times, vision is abstract and hard to define.

That is why it is important to create a strategy or guideline, to which everyone is committed. If there is no structure to any part of your process, there is no process to the whole.

This strategy and culture is not the end goal but one you can shape early on to pave the way for a successful future.

Develop a high-performance culture

The first way to grow is to develop a high-performance culture where everyone takes ownership and wants to do a good job.

“Ultimately, how much people love their jobs, the value they bring, and their financial well-being depends on the culture in which they work,” said Alok Dubey, a financial advisor and author of the blog Don’t Quit Your Day Job! (www.dontquityourdayjob.com).

Based on conversations I’ve had with financial advisors, you can create a high-performance culture in a relatively short amount of time. You might start with these three strategies:

1. Define your culture

2. Determine the direction you want to take the firm in. Will it be a place for advisors to park their book of business and ride out the rest of the days? Will it be full of ambitious individuals and teams looking to build a Billion dollar book of business?

3. Clearly articulate what makes you and your vision team passionate. This means writing and documenting your thoughts on paper

Practice what you preach

When you become a fully independent advisor, you should be encouraging your clients to practice what you preach. Clients enjoy and desire to be part of a culture of the company and people they do business with.

This is what can separate your firm from your competitors.

Lead with culture, team and their dedication to the client. First and foremost.

Be open about it and talk to the client about what changes they would like to see or something to help improve the flow and function of your firm.

Build a team that can adapt and complement your vision

What you decide to do can be challenging and these will be the members that you choose to build your team around.

Do you want advisors that are collaborative or do you want advisors that are more independent and that you can micro manage?

Take the time to know them past their experience and resume.

I prefer to hear about their adventures with the family and their dog rather than simply asking for their portfolio statements.

I like to see how they like to put together an office or house, and I like to ask them about their day, their clients and their interests.

One type of advisor I like a lot is the one that you would go to for advice and is excited about helping you.

It can be a challenge looking for such qualities in individuals, but you need to look for them.

Challenge your team to grow

In 2021, expand your advisory firm from five to 10 or more advisors, advises J. David Haddad, chief strategy officer at FutureAdvisor. “The brokerage industry is going to see a massive shrinkage of headcount in the coming years,” Haddad says.

To survive and thrive, you need to grow your advisory firm by adding at least 10 new advisors. “Recruiting an elite group of advisors who are at the top of their game is a huge challenge,” Haddad says.

One strategy to increase recruiting efforts and deliver on your growth goals is to offer a sizeable signing bonus to recruit top talent. “When you recruit top advisors, your internal rate of return is dramatically higher because you aren’t recruiting to fill an empty seat,” Haddad says.