Ask a large group of advisors to list their primary business goals, and odds are “growing my business” will be at or near the top of almost every list. But ask the same individuals WHY they want to grow their businesses and a great many may have difficulty in offering a compelling reason. For many of us, growth has been equated with success as far back as we can remember. Just as a shark that stops swimming ultimately dies, we’ve been conditioned to believe that a firm that stops growing will similarly wither away.
Instead of viewing growth as a goal, you need to start thinking about it as a means to an end. That’s what growth with purpose and intent is – growth aimed at helping you achieve and live the life you want, rather than merely growing for growth’s sake.
Just as clients need to ask themselves some hard questions to determine whether they’re willing to take-on additional risk in exchange for greater growth potential, so do advisors. Are you genuinely driven to grow your firm? What does that growth look like? What are the obstacles that have thus far impeded your growth? How will a larger business impact your life positively and negatively? How will it impact your clients? And in the end, will these changes make you a happier person?
Preparing yourself for the journey
For advisors who do make the commitment to grow their business, the challenge lies in preparing themselves for what lies ahead – both organizationally and personally. What is your vision for your business from a human capital perspective? Do you have the right team with the right skills in place to achieve that vision?
Understand that when it comes to growth planning, you’re typically far better off building capacity in advance of need (anticipating rather than reacting). If you wait until client demand outstrips capacity, you’ll quickly find yourself making serious staffing compromises. Don’t merely look at future needs. If growth is your goal, you need to step-back and seriously evaluate your current team. Do current team members have the skill sets and emotional make-up to be successful in the future business? If not, chances are they will end up serving as an impediment to growth rather than a catalyst.
It’s your job to lead the growth, but you shouldn’t be the one having to do all of the work. Make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with people equally passionate about growth, who welcome playing a role in that process, and are motivated financially or otherwise by what growth can do for them personally.
Most importantly, remember to reconnect with the joy and purpose of your work to help ensure that the next level of growth continues to serve you, your team and your clients effectively. Strive to link the power of growth to the nobility of your profession. The more the firm grows, the greater the number of lives you can positively impact, and the more you can give back to your community.
Even if you never end up implementing any of it, you may be quite surprised at what you find out about yourself, your team, your current work, your future company, and where your personal satisfaction stems from, just by going through the growth planning process.
Coaching Questions from this article:
- How do you envision your business five years from now? What about ten years from now?
- What sort of strategic hiring plan do you have in place for that same time period? Do the skill sets and projected new hires align with your vision?
- What does imagining the future bring to the surface about how you see your business in the present?