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Advisors: An Annual Reset Can Change Your Business Life


An exercise for advisors that helps to fill in the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

The first days back to work at the beginning of a new year are busy for everyone, for sure. Yet I’ve learned that it’s an important starting point for us all—the perfect “excuse” to hit the reset button on every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally.

I’m not talking at all about making resolutions: you know, those short-term attempts to re-ignite lost and forgotten goals or passions. The reality is that most resolutions fail because they’re often just knee-jerk declarations made without really stopping to think about why they’re important or how they’ll effect long-term, lasting change.

The act of professionally resetting asks you to stop and back up the train a bit. It means taking the time to clear your mind and visualize where it is that you’re trying to go and why. Essentially, it gives you the permission needed to re-vet the expectations you have of yourself, your firm and your future. And it’s a process that’s equally effective for advisors who are actively exploring their options and those who feel satisfied with the status quo.

Part 1: Visualize a Perfect World

Picture in your mind a blank slate where you can create what your “ideal” business model looks like—that is, one where you can best serve your clients and grow your business optimally. Considering this ideal scenario, ask yourself:

  • What does your business life look like?
  • Are you managing clients and growing your business in the same way that you do now?
  • Are you at the same firm?

In this visualization, you may find that things look very similar to where you are now—and if so, you haven’t wasted your time. It’s simply verifying that where you are is a good fit and allows you to live up to your full potential. But if the ideal view looks different than your current scenario, it’s time to find out why.

Part 2: Identify the Gap Between the Ideal and Your Current Reality

Considering where you are now, ask yourself the following:

  1. What are the things you like about your firm?
  2. Are there things about your firm that you don’t like or that frustrate you?
  3. Do you feel limited in your ability to serve your clients and grow your business?
  4. Is your firm providing the support that allows you to best serve your clients and grow your business?
  5. Does the technology, platform and products offered by your firm enhance the client experience and business growth?
  6. Are you fully able to act as a true fiduciary to your clients?
  7. Thinking longer term, what makes you optimistic about your ability to continually grow your business at your firm?

After answering these questions, you may find that there are positive attributes about your firm, as well as some negative ones. And that’s completely normal. But it’s the gap between the current reality and the ideal that you need to focus on.

Related: How Changing Sentiment Will Change the Industry in 2019

Yet fear or inertia often traps us in an indolent state and prevents us from recognizing how the gaps can negatively affect our business lives. So many advisors get stuck, never truly aligning the present with what they envision as a better, more perfect future. That’s why we suggest that every advisor – no matter how great a year you had or level of revenue or AUM – go through this resetting process annually.

If after this exercise, you find yourself with a renewed sense of empowerment and clarity, then your new year is off to a great start. However, if you find there are gaps, then take the time to explore, armed with knowledge that you may not have had before. I think you’ll find that a vastly changed landscape of opportunity awaits you—and that your “ideal” can actually be realized.

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