As a resident of Nebraska, and like many of you who live in four-season states, we always eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring this time of year. For those of you who reside in lake-effect areas or locations impacted by the notorious “Nor’easters,” warmth and sunshine probably can’t come soon enough. So allow me to brighten your spirits by saying that March is a time to look forward to spring.

Spring is a time of new growth. The buds on trees start to appear, dormant flowers launch their annual makeover, and the grass begins its transition to a beautiful shade of deep green. If only growth in your business was as easy as waiting for warmer weather. As a financial advisor, are you prepared to grow this year? The time is right, so let’s do some spring cleaning to help your practice bloom in 2013.

1. Clear Out the Brush

Winter can result in a lot of mess – branches, leaves, and other things can clog up the growth process. You may have similar brush in your business that threatens to impede your growth this year. How about those households that are not a good fit for your business? This is the time to either transition them to a junior advisor or align them with another firm. It’s in their best interest and yours. What about the staff person who is negative, disengaged, and has lost his or her passion for what you want to deliver to your clients? Now is the time to either empower them to succeed or bring in someone who wants to grow. How about that aged service model which needs to be cleaned up? Start cleaning up these messes and get in order.        

2. View the Landscape

Step back from your business and view the landscape like you would your own back yard. What do you want it to become? At our house, there are always “projects” we want to undertake. Last year, it was a vegetable garden. This year, I’ve been told, we both want an outdoor fire pit (and guess who gets to build it). View the landscape of your business. Do you need more relationships with professional centers of influence, or would you like to enhance your financial planning services? Maybe it’s time to implement a higher account minimum or add a much-needed staff person. Envision what the changes would look like and how they could help you grow.

3. Put a plan in place.

Once you know what you want to become this year, develop a plan. Before we go to work on our yard, we talk about what it will take to get it done. We consider the time, money, energy, and other resources it will take. Then, we devise a plan. It may be written on the back of a Lowe’s receipt, but it’s a plan! Your plan may be a marketing calendar, an annual business plan, or part of your formal goal planning process. However you get there, have a plan you can revisit that will keep you on track, even if the impending dog days of summer or your daily routine try to distract you.

4. Plant, water, and maintain.

What can you “plant” this year that can help you become more successful? Maybe it’s a new service model which includes consistent phone calls to your clients, more face-time with your professional centers of influence, small passion-based prospecting events to meet the friends and associates of your best clients, or improvements to the physical look of your office. The implementation is in the planting. Much like the zucchini seeds left in the package, your best plans for growth will produce nothing without implementation. To reap, you have to sow.

Once you’ve planted for growth, the job has only started. You have to take care of what you’ve put in place. That may mean investing in new technology to support growth or revising your results-based pay to engage your team. 

Lastly, be patient. You can’t stare at a plant and expect to see growth before your eyes. Your first advisory council meeting may not produce immediate results, but over time you should certainly see an impact. To help you prepare your business for spring, download Peak Advisor Alliance’s 3 Keys to Explosive Growth. Go to, click on the Free Tools tab, and enter the code “growth” in the appropriate field. These three keys will provide you with actionable tools to help you decide where you want to grow in 2013.

If you’ve prepared your business landscape for growth, planted good ideas and processes, and are taking care of what you implement, you’ll see results. Remember, don’t rush the harvest.  

As you look at your business this spring, consider what you want to create and how you can grow. Don’t settle for what you have today if it’s not what you know you’re capable of, desire, and are willing to work for tomorrow.          

 Ron Carson is Founder and CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group, a comprehensive wealth planning firm, and Founder of Peak Advisor Alliance, the largest advisor coaching program in the country. He also co-authored the practice management book Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice and its revised second edition Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Success as a New-Era Advisor.

Scott Wood, an Executive Business Coach at Peak Advisor Alliance, contributed to this article. He has over 20 years of experience in financial services, and extensive experience in coaching and training advisors in areas including presentation skills, sales concepts, fee-based transitioning, distribution strategies, marketing, branding, and value positioning.

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