Ask a room full of financial advisors if they have thought about business planning, and most will say yes. 

Ask that same group of advisors if they have actually taken the time to create a written business plan and more importantly, follow it, and the majority of that room will most likely say no.

As an investment professional, you run your own “company” within the confines of your office, and this presents an extraordinary opportunity.  To take advantage of this opportunity, it is essential that you lay the proper foundation and create a roadmap that will enable you to ultimately get from where you are today, to where you want to be.  A well thought out (and executed) business plan does this, and lays the groundwork for successfully growing your business.

So why should you make planning a priority?  Several reasons:

  • Top producers spend the same hours at work as low and mid-level producers, but use time differently.
  • Top producers think through and document who they want to serve and how to reach those clients. They plan, then act.
  • 80% of advisors producing $1 million or more have written plans vs. 7% making $75,000 or less.

Like financial planning, creating a business plan means taking a hard look at your business to determine where you are now, where you want to be, and how you will get there.
Where are you now?

  • Describe your practice as it exists today, focusing on clients and relationships. 
  • Describe your practice as it exists today, focusing on revenue and assets.
  • Assess the factors that may impact your ability to achieve your objectives.

Where do you want to be?

  • Describe your practice in its ideal state.   
  • Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound) results oriented goals around Revenue, Client Acquisition and Assets
  • Set Soft Goals oriented around the things that support the achievement of your Business Goals.  (Ex:  Office environment, technology, etc.)

How will you get there?

  • Outline the specific strategies you will employ to reach your goals.  (Ex:  Market seminars, Networking Groups, etc.)
  • Determine the tactics will you implement to support the strategy.  (Ex:  Bi-monthly seminars on a variety of topics)
  • Detail the action plan that will be used to ensure each tactic gets completed (Ex:  Purchase leads, develop presentation, secure approvals, etc.)

Remember that most people don’t plan to fail.  They fail to plan.  So take some time to plan for your success. 

As the great Yogi Berra once said:  “If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else”.

Michael Silver and Eric Sheikowicz are managing Partners at Focus Partners. Their video series "Focus On" runs weekly on AdvisorTV.