Building an advisory business requires making a decision to grow your business and to what extent you want to grow. To effectively manage the successful growth and evolution of your firm, time needs to be dedicated to the strategic planning process. Once you have committed to this ongoing process, begin by defining the vision for your business.
You likely have a vision of where you want your firm to be in the future. If you don’t have a clear picture in your mind of what you want your business to look like in 5-10 years, you should begin with this step. Define, in detail, what the successful version of your business looks like in the future- pick a date 5-10 years into the future. Don’t be afraid to be a little over the top on this step. It is better to shoot too high than to set your goals too low.
The questions that need to be answered that create a good vision are:
1) Defining who and what your organization is.
2) What do you want the firm to get to (services and size) and what will it look like in the future in terms of staffing and number of offices and locations?
3) Developing how it is going to get there? What has to happen in what order? Prioritize the steps. What needs to get done in the next three months to reach your goal for the year.
Once you have answered these, put it all on paper. Don’t keep this only in your head, you must get it on paper to make it real. This provides clarity to the vision. Once you have clarity of your vision the decisions you need to make regarding hiring staff, implementing processes, adding services, formulating strategy, working with clients, adding technology, and handling financial matters become easier to make. Each of these decisions will be driven by your vision- the correct decision to these issues will be the one that best helps you reach your vision.
Another reason to get your vision out of your head and on paper is so it can be shared with your staff. Business owners can have a clear vision for their firms, but then fail to share it with the staff. The very resources that can be leveraged to help them reach the vision don’t know where and why they are going and how they are going to get there!
Once your staff sees your vision as clearly as you do, the entire organization can all work toward this common vision. Issues will get solved more quickly and creative ideas will flow more freely.
Another benefit that often results from the sharing of your vision for the company is that everyone in the company can see where you (and they) are going. Those who don’t want to go where you do are likely to remove themselves from the team. Over time, you will end up with a staff where everyone is “rowing in the same direction.” This creates momentum toward reaching the vision and goals of the firm.
In summary; define your vision and put in writing to set the direction for your firm. Use this vision to guide your firm’s strategic, operational and human capital decisions. Following this process is a great start toward having the type of firm you want. Work in 90-day time periods to accomplish goals for the year. Do this each year and you will reach your longer-term goals.
If your firm needs a COO to help your firm get to the next level of growth, let me know. I would love to participate in the growth of an RIA looking to make the lives of their clients easier. Although I live in Minnesota and would prefer a local position, I am open to considering interesting opportunities in other parts of the country.
Build your business wisely.