Have you ever wondered why some financial advisors have the kind of businesses they want, while others don’t? It’s really no big mystery. They simply took three steps back and made the important choices that led them to their current success.
To create the business you want, start by taking the first step back: Decide what kind of life you want. Do you know exactly how you want to spend the next 10, 20, or 30 years? When you decide how you want your life to look and why, you’re ready to take the second step and create a financial game plan.
It almost goes without saying that there’s a financial component involved in creating the life you want. Therefore, step two is to figure out how much money you need to live the life you want. You also need to consider the time component: How much time are you willing to invest today in order to earn for your future? Most people are willing to sacrifice some quality of life today so they can achieve a better quality of life in the future, but if that sacrifice gets too big, then their willingness to continue eventually diminishes.
By figuring out how much money you need and how much time you’re willing to work, you’re ready for step three: figuring out how to invest that time. When you know what you want your life to look like and how you’re willing to invest your time, you’ll quickly realize that you don’t have any time to waste.
I’m sometimes criticized for telling advisors not to spend their time poring over the financial news or becoming overeducated, which I define as spending more time trying to understand the market, economics, how world events affect the markets, and investment selection than is incrementally beneficial to your clients. (Notice that I did not recommend that you be a complete financial idiot.) I also tell advisors not to waste time educating clients, not only because your clients don’t need to be educated about every aspect of financial services in order to make good decisions (they don’t), but also because you don’t have time to become an expert in all things financial.
The good news is that what produces a simpler and better life for you also creates better results and value for your clients. Our experience shows that clients are much better served when you organize a “deliverables team” that is dedicated to making sure your clients achieve their goals regardless of what happens in the market, the economy, or the world. Whether you’re 22 years old and a brand-new advisor, or 65 years old with decades of experience, your personal time in the business will never match the collective wisdom and experience you can put to bear toward your client’s best interest when you assemble a team of competent, professional, trustworthy money managers, financial plan writers, insurance experts, tax professionals, attorneys, etc., to work for you and your clients.
You have too many clients and too many variables to ever be able to manage in the finite amount of time that you can dedicate to your business without letting the rest of your life falling apart. Do you know why you feel like there’s never enough time? Because there isn’t enough time to run the business you have or are trying to build.
If you want your business to take off, focus your attention on the only three things that matter: acquiring new clients, serving your existing clients, and managing your staff who handles the administrative details of your business. Unfortunately, many advisors get so consumed with putting out administrative fires, money management, investment selection, insurance products, annuities, account aggregation systems, client service platforms, CRM software, staying current with tax laws, etc., that they don’t have time to acquire enough great clients or run a great business. They rationalize that their business isn’t as successful as it could be because they have to spend their time “serving” their clients. It’s a real trap that actually leaves most clients under-served and most advisors under-successful.