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The Biggest Inhibitor to Your Firm's Growth? It May Be You.

By Ray Sclafani | April 27, 2016

iStock_000087859527_Large.jpgFrequently when I speak at advisor events, I’ll ask attendees what they believe to be the greatest impediment to their firm’s future growth. More often than not, the smarter advisors in the room hone in on “a lack of capacity.” Yet, many of these very same advisors tend to be their own worst enemy in that regard – by holding on too tightly to the reins of their practice. There’s no getting around the fact that sooner or later, any growth-focused firm that’s overly dependent on its senior advisor or founder is going to have capacity issues. So, what can you do about it?

Strategic planning and workflow modeling are pivotal, but so too are people. You’ve got to be willing to invest ahead of the curve, not after it, to know that what you’re investing in today will pay off tomorrow.

The following are a few proactive steps you can start to take right now to begin better positioning your firm for growth:

1. Get proactive in transferring trust: it can be one of the most difficult things for any advisor to do – allowing other team members to begin taking a lead role in managing your client relationships. You started your business because you felt you could do things better, but if you want to continue growing your business, you need to trust in your team’s ability to maintain a high level of client care. Being proactive around team development is one of the best steps you can take as a leader. 

2. Ensure that you have a strategic plan for growth: one that enables whoever is/are the rainmaker(s) on your team to fully focus on business development, delegating whatever other responsibilities and tasks they currently have to other team members so they can solely focus on executing the strategic plan for growth. 

3. Align your strategic hiring plan with your growth goals: To paraphrase the movie Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” Far too many firms wait until capacity constraints begin to adversely impact client service levels before taking action. The most successful firms are those that plan for growth rather than reacting to it – recruiting financial advisors and building capacity in advance of the need in order to avoid any disruptions. Trust in your team’s ability to achieve the growth goals you’ve set, and align your hiring accordingly.

4. Update your technology and workflow processes: We often hear administrative support people bemoan being overworked and having no time in their day. When we stop and look at precisely what they’re doing, however, in many instances we quickly come to realize that they’re working with old, inefficient technology and employing processes that are outdated, unnecessary and/or unscalable. Look at your CRM and reporting systems. Review your workflow. Are there operational efficiencies to be gained that can create additional capacity? When was the last time you reviewed your workflow processes? Things you developed several years ago and are still using today just may be serving as significant operational drags on your practice.

These steps may sound intuitive and simple, but implementing them requires a leap of faith – faith in the abilities of your team members to step up and assume more responsibility, and faith in your firm’s ability to achieve its growth goals in order to utilize the excess capacity you develop in advance. But if you’re serious about being in the growth business, it’s a leap you must be willing to take.

 Coaching Questions from this article:

  1. How can you improve your strategic hiring plan based upon your current plan for future growth?
  2. Who is/are the natural rainmaker(s) for your firm? Which of their responsibilities could be passed off to other team members to free them to focus on growth?
  3. When was the last time you reviewed your workflow processes? How might you gain additional capacity through workflow efficiencies?
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Topics: Leadership Team Development wealth management teams wealth management advisors

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