When my brother started his business 17 years ago, he came to me and asked me to help him get it off the ground. My response was, “When do we start?” For me, it was exciting have a chance to be an entrepreneur. An opportunity to start a company from concept to implementation – I was looking forward to the experience with great anticipation.
In the early days of a fledgling business—as many financial advisors will attest—there are a million things that all need to be done yesterday, and usually one person to do it…guess who?
It was no different 17 years ago when we started The Ocean Rescue to protect a 30-mile stretch of beach on the outer banks of North Carolina. All the responsibilities of business operation needed to be addressed – business development, operations, customer service, marketing/PR, legal, human resources, etc.
So many hats.
It’s a rite of passage for the founder of a business to attempt to perform every function of the business at least once…and only in the beginning. It is the natural course of getting something started. Some will say it’s exhilarating, jumping from one task to the next to understand how all the puzzle pieces work together.
But at some point, business owners realize that to have their company last into the future—beyond competition and beyond their lifetime—it must grow. To achieve growth, you need scale. And to scale a business you need resources. Competent and capable employees, functional systems and processes, and world-class technology will get you to the next level.
What to do?
My brother is a strong leader and has a tremendous ability to build interpersonal relationships on both the business and personal fronts. He understood that for his business to succeed, he would have to focus on what he does best: building relationships with the town managers who award his contracts, and the beach patrons who see the efforts of his employees every day. He took the time to hire the right employees and outsourced tasks to complement his strengths. By surrounding himself with a great team, he helped set his business on a growth trajectory.
Who is on your team?
Many advisors came into this business as entrepreneurs. Our industry is still dominated by the advisors that started with a desk, a phone book and a phone, and believed the promise that if you made it through three years you were golden. The industry methods of gathering new clients are always changing, but the role of financial advisors remains relatively the same.
As your client’s trusted advisor, they rely on your expertise and your experience to build the best team possible to manage their wealth.
Do you have the right team in place?
Whatever got your business to where it is today must evolve for you to achieve your goals of tomorrow. Take a step back and look at your business with a critical eye towards your growth goals. What can improve? What can change? Can you achieve your goals with your current resources?
There are generally two ways to assemble a proper team.
- Partner with another firm.
- Build it on your own.
Both options will work, but they won’t necessarily work at the same rate, with the same level of investment or resources, or to the same degree. Which you choose is up to you.
If you’re considering a partner, aggregator or service provider, check out this post on what 10 things you should be evaluating.
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