By Suzanne Patrick-Lawrence
Managing growth is a complex process for any professional services firm. As a team takes on new members, the flow of tasks, information, and communication will change and morph over time. Just as the human body shifts its bone structure as it grows from childhood to adulthood, a maturing business needs to constantly realign itself to the current stage while moving into position for the next stage. The key to growing sustainably is to be deliberate about how you grow. There are no set numbers or formulas to dictate how aggressively or how slowly you should grow, as a business needs to determine what is appropriate given the company’s particular approach.
Define Your Growth Strategy
Deciding how to grow begins with defining an end point. What is your exit strategy, and what is your time horizon for cashing out from the business? What revenue, AUM, and profitability targets do you need to hit each year in order to stay on track for the business to produce sufficiently to support your retirement goals? Do you have a realistic gauge of what you can expect each team member to produce during their first several years with your firm, and thereafter? Is your firm’s compensation structure competitive with the rest of the market? Firms that attempt to add new advisors too aggressively without first doing the groundwork to answer these questions often end up with high turnover.
Tend to Career Path Development
There are a lot of reasons why advisors switch firms, but nothing will cause a team member to disengage more quickly than feeling like there is no future where they are or feeling left to fend for themselves in a silo. An advisor needs to be able to see a promising career path, with opportunities for education, growth, advancement, and earning potential. A key component to career path planning is continuous communication, which means you have to make time for face-to-face meetings and conversations to keep building trust. High-performance cultures don’t just spring up on their own. Advisors need a support structure to guide them through each phase of their career.
Always Be Interviewing
The time isn’t always right to hire, but great talent is not easy to find. Great firms are always interviewing and looking out for the next great team member. Sometimes the right person may not be immediately available or easy to land. The more consistently you establish the habit of interviewing prospective candidates, whether for immediate hire or later consideration, the more you will grow attuned to the traits and characteristics of the right people for your organization. You will learn to spot the diamonds in the rough more quickly. A quality of high-performing organizations is the tendency to exercise a high degree of scrutiny in the hiring process, often by requiring a candidate to interview with a handful of people and sometimes interviewing a long list of candidates. Impatient organizations that hire based on convenience tend to land people that loosely fit a set of vague criteria, which can lead to a culture of mistrust when team members don’t share the same values. Hiring slowly and being selective isn’t convenient, but it creates a more solid foundation.
If you are ready to grow your professional firm and would like to discuss how we can help you structure your team for long-term success, we’d love to connect. Take the first step and reach out to Advisor Business Solutions by emailing [email protected] or calling 562-439-4804 to learn how we can help.
Suzanne Patrick-Lawrence is the CEO of Advisor Business Solutions. She is a business planning and communications specialist with over 20 years of experience developing business and marketing strategies for financial services, global corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, and small businesses. She is passionate about working with financial advisor practices seeking guidance, support, and structure to position their firms for a successful transition. To learn more about Suzanne, connect with her on LinkedIn.