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Financial Advisors: 10 Ideas to Spark the Business Planning Process

By ClientWise | December 5, 2012


Top performing advisors share a characteristic that is too often lacking in the financial advisory industry: they consistently take the time to conduct business-planning activities.  ClientWise research indicates that only 13 percent of financial advisors complete -- and execute -- a fully documented business plan.

For those financial advisors who’d like to build an effective business plan that reflects their heart-felt wishes and desires for their business and includes a roadmap to get there, here’s a thought to help you jumpstart the planning process.

Do it backwards.

Here’s how:

  1. We’ve identified 10 foundational elements that exist in the business plans of the most successful financial advisors who we coach.
  2. Use these 10 foundational elements as a checklist, and add the missing components to your practice.
  3. Starting backwards, create your business and marketing plan from the ground up…using these foundational elements as a catalyst for the planning process.


The 10 Foundational Elements:

Ideal Client Types

Ideal Client Types are the clients that you serve best. Identify two to three Ideal Client Types. Be as precise as possible. You can do better than simply saying, “women”, or “pre-retirees” or “business executives”. “C-level executives in publicly-traded companies with concentrated stock positions”? Now, we’re talking.

The Discovery Process

Develop a discovery process that really sets you and your practice apart. Create a question set that frames you in a distinctive way, and causes prospective clients to sit up and say, “Gee! Nobody’s every asked me that before.”

Defined Service Offerings

What array of wealth management services do you provide, and to whom? Beginning with your Ideal Client Types, create a wealth management enterprise that uniquely satisfies your best clients.

Client Acquisition Goals

With respect to goals, the most successful financial advisors have 3 important habits: 1) They set clear goals and priorities consistently and periodically, 2) They write these goals down, and post them in a place that is impossible NOT to see, and 3) They review, and reflect back on them periodically, at least once a quarter.

Value Proposition

The Value Proposition, 1) Identifies the specific group of clients that you target, 2) Defines their value experience, 3) Specifies your service/product mix, 4) Articulates how your offering delivers clear client value, and 5) Outlines how you are different from and better than the alternative.

Updated Marketing Materials

Freshen up your website, photo, bio, corporate capability brochure, presentation deck, and all other relevant marketing materials.


A strategic vision defines your ideal world. It is a statement of conviction that articulates your lifetime goals, deepest ambitions, beliefs and values. The strategic vision clearly spells out the business that you want to create, and the life that you want to live.

Your Unique Wealth Management Process

The wealth management process is a combination of: your ideal client types, your defined service offerings, the client engagement matrix, the other trusted professionals within your network, and everything else that sets you and your business apart.

Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns build and maintain momentum. The most successful advisors have 2-3 marketing campaigns going consistently.

Your “Trusted Advisor” Network

By identifying and collaborating with the other trusted advisors of your best clients, you serve your own clients better as well as creating a trusted advisor network that can serve the needs of your Ideal Client Types.


A Final Word

We can report that creating a fully-documented and operational business and marketing plan has multiple benefits, including: 1) More revenues and AUM, 2) Increased satisfaction and a better work-life balance, 3) Building a wealth management enterprise that is “bigger” and more fulfilling.

We trust this helps.


For additional ideas on how to build your wealth management enterprise, please download the ClientWise Learning Tool below:

8 Wealth Management enterprise

Topics: Business and Operations Management Goals

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