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Differentiating Between Average and ABOVE Average Firms

You might wonder what your peers are doing and how fast growing firms seem to be growing with minimal effort. How do they do it? And why isn’t everyone else doing it, too?The answer to the latter is very simple: either they don’t know how or they don’t want to invest the time, effort, or money it requires. It takes a concerted effort to supercharge business growth . And yet, you must invest if you want to maintain or grow a profitable business and attract the next generation of staff. Average Above Average The answer to the former, how do they do it, is more complicated. Above Average businesses invest time and effort to adopt the right processes, hire and train the right people, implement time-saving tech, and more. They manage their resources to maximize efficiency and increase profitability. They commit to client acquisition, marketing, and business development strategies that keep the clients coming in the door at a rate greater than their output, while still providing excellent service to existing clients.Sounds great, right? But how is it done? So often the intentions for growth are present and the desired end goal might be clear, but the path to get there is ill-defined. We looked at commonalities among firms that steadily grow their revenue versus those that struggle. Here are the patterns that consistently produce successful results:

Improve Time Management:

This is the one resource that no one can purchase or reclaim once it is lost. For this reason, it is essentially our most valuable resource and must be valued, protected, and planned out to be used most efficiently. How It’s Done: Manage your energy and time by implementing Time Blocking Benefits:
  • Higher level of energy
  • Better client experience (quick, easy scheduling vs email volley)
  • Predictable schedule that provides more time for strategy and staff communications
  • More time to work with clients, less time wasted on event management
  • Protects your time
  • Improves your brand by sending message that you are valuable and not at anyone’s beck and call, which implies you are not successful
  • Eliminate Shiny Object Syndrome:

    Above Average firms avoid SOS by having streamlined business processes and transparent systems to prioritize and organize new ideas, solutions to issues, and dreams. They don’t band aid an issue but rather proactively seek permanent solutions. They avoid the madness that drains energy and resources and often leads to workplace burnout. How It’s Done: Document all major ideas, dreams, and issues into a transparent, flexible organizational system. For each idea, document the benefit of implementing it. Assign a champion (aka. leader) to each idea to gather information and bring their findings to the executive team. Productively collaborate to approve or eliminate ideas on a monthly basis and use that time to also plan the timing of implementation of each approved idea. Share this master plan with the staff, annually, to empower the company culture and individuals that will make the implementation possible. Benefits:
  • Creates flexibility to change strategies and adapt to business challenges
  • Less for the executive time to research
  • Reduces unnecessary expenses
  • Increases clarity and buy-in among decision makers and staff
  • Retains key employees and attract more qualified candidates
  • Decrease stress
  • No surprises
  • Create Raving Fans:

    Expanding revenue and client base requires an investment in marketing and business development. Marketing is difficult for advisors not trained in this specialty, nor in tune with the latest methods that work. Above average firms invest in marketing and more intimate business development techniques to convert website viewers into inquiry calls, and clients and centers of influence into raving fans. With your network doing your bidding for you, you can save on resources and continue to grow your ideal client base. How It’s Done: Clearly define client personas, services, and deliverables. Track and review marketing metrics to guide future marketing decisions. Energize your brand through website and social media updates. Train and empower your staff to give your clients an unmatched, great experience. Benefits:
  • Receive quality referrals from existing clients with minimal effort
  • Experience steady inbound stream of qualified prospects
  • Reduce money and time on marketing ideas that aren’t producing results
  • Reduce effort and time to convert a lead to a client; the more recognizable brand builds trust and reduces indecision.
  • Create a Master Staffing Plan:

    Above Average firms work with their staff to get clarity on passion, skills, and wishes. They position the managers as mentors to staff, with the purpose of giving the staff person the support and guidance they need to reach their goals. This open loop of communication allows the firm to map out a staff development plan, identify hurdles and follow up training needed, and proactively create a strategy for recalibrating people and roles. How It’s Done: Collaboratively document career paths, goals, and training curriculum with each staff person. Revisit this document with each staff person on a quarterly basis to review, refine, and discuss. Benefits:
  • Creates self-accountability for career success
  • Produces happier culture, due to clear roles and responsibilities
  • Provides clarity on who belongs on the team
  • Identifies what skills need to be hired vs. trained
  • Stop being all to everyone:

    Above Average firms have clarified their client segments, services, minimum fees, servicing staff, and deliverables. They know this effort quickly identifies which clients should be off boarded or digitized, what processes need to be simplified to lower the workload, and how it provides advisors and the website clear talking points about their ideal client. All this effort leads to more deliberate, predictable, easier growth of the client base.Part of why Above Average firms delineate client segments is to be able to have specific protocols, timelines, and plans in place to provide each segment the types of services they need. This helps them stop placing a not-fit client into a customized plan of service, which confuses staff, decreases productivity, and decreases capacity for ideal clients. It also stops the destruction of the ideal client experience, which can threaten your long-term relationship with that client, referrals that might expect the same customized servicing, and staff that feel the inadvertent strain put on the firm. How It’s Done: Create client service models, assign staff to monitor and implement portions of each of the models, and encourage them to streamline the internal work. Benefits:
  • Eliminate company “culture killer” clients
  • Increase capacity and quality service delivery for ideal clients
  • Strengthens and streamlines the brand
  • Bolsters professional reputation by referring not-fit clients to a better-fit provider
  • Delegate with clarity and accountability:

    No single advisor can carry the weight of an entire firm on their shoulders. When they try, they end up overworked and unhappy in their day-to-day environment. Above Average firms put processes in place, and outsource, delegate, and automate the work to free time to fulfill high level client-facing and business improvement tasks. How It’s Done: Adopt the IDEOS™ mindset and apply it to every area of the business from marketing, client service, staffing, to financial accounting and more. Benefits:
  • Increase capacity
  • Increase profits
  • Attract and retain highly qualified staff
  • Transforming Your Business

    A firm committed to growth and generational success has no choice but to address the processes, people, productivity, and profitability and ask themselves – do we fit into the “average” or “ABOVE average” category? What areas do we feel our firm could most benefit from improving? With answers will come clarity and the passion to take the path less traveled and become Above Average.Good luck improving your business and please share this with anyone you like.Related: Why Clarifying and Limiting Your Advisory Actually Helps It to Grow