Delegating is not easy, but it becomes easier once you do it a few times. Delegating is necessary if your goal is to work smarter as you grow your firm. Million-dollar producers delegate! Here’s why… and what steps you can take as you move from being a financial advisor who runs a practice to that of the CEO of your financial advisory firm.
Did you become an independent financial advisor to manage the nitty-gritty of your entire practice? Or was your real mission to serve clients “the right way” and safeguard their wealth?
Way too often, the “busy-ness” of business gets in the way of an advisory firm owner’s best intentions of growing a practice. The secret is to catch yourself at the point where you begin to wear too many hats. If you don’t, client services, your bottom line, and your personal life are sure to suffer.
An Honest Look – Are You Running A Practice or Do You Own a Business?
If they’re not careful, financial firm owners effectively create just a job with a paycheck for themselves along with some extra tax deductions. They’re working “in” their business instead of “on” their business.
Often advisor-owners will be heard saying, “I’m overwhelmed, working 60+ hours a week, trying to service clients the right way.” You’ll never hear them say, “I’m not coming in today, I decided to take the day off!” or “I’m going on vacation for the month. My team can handle it!” This is because when they take any time off, their firm makes no money. Nada, not a penny.
If you’ve been in a solo practice for a while, chances are that your practice is running you instead of you owning a firm. It’s like you’re captaining a burning ship — running a business stuck in “practice mode” and frantically putting out fires.
Often, independent financial advisor-owners get to this point and start questioning if they’re in the right profession–or wondering if they should go work for a company again! The answer can usually be found by planning for and developing the right team to service clients and run the firm for you.
Take a look at the list below and review all the tasks you’re trying to do by yourself. It is an exhausting list!
• Purchasing manager
• Business planner
• Office manager
• Event planner
• Technology specialist
• Speaker, trainer
• Coach and/or consultant
• Social networking/internet guru
• Human services manager
• Marketing director
• Accounting/finance manager
• Compliance/legal manager
• Desktop publisher/designer
• Customer service rep
• Quality control manager
• Interior Designer
• Assistant to you
• And at a minimum, assistants to all the managers/specialists above
Make the Shift
When you are determined and make the shift from running a practice to owning a business, your entire operation and culture will reflect the change. You become the CEO of your business, looking at it from a bird’s-eye view. Your activities are focused on what you enjoy doing the most and on the best use of your time.
Transitioning from being a lone advisor-owner to the CEO of your firm starts with three shifts:
1) shift in your mindset about hiring others and delegating
2) shift in your business structure
3) shift in developing many types of written systems
Begin the change by looking at your business for what it truly is; a place to service clients the way they deserve to be serviced, a great investment of your time and talents, your retirement nest egg, a valuable asset to sell later, or a legacy to leave behind.
Advisor-CEOs give themselves the gift of time and others the gift of a paycheck (and the pleasant experience of working with a well-rested boss), when they hire a team.
Who Should Be On Your Team?
Advisor-CEOs plan for the growth of their firm. If you’re a financial advisor who is ready to start planning for growth, below is a list of activities you’re probably working overtime “in” your business in order to best service clients.
Your team can consist of part-time or full-time employees. They can work for you virtually or they can work in your office. They can also be consultants you hire on a project basis.
- Human Resources
- Client Services
- Research & Development
- Finance & Accounting
Most of the above listed tasks are better left to your team members and technology. Once you have reassigned all your firm’s busy-ness activities (See Action Step), your business will operate like a well-oiled machine on most days.
Take Steps Today
Today, take a step towards being a CEO. Look to get rid of as many hats as possible and create a more sustainable, scaleable business model based on living your ideal life and owning an ideal business. If you aren’t yet able to hire more employees or consultants, create a 12-month plan and start taking the steps to get there.
Transform your business model into one that serves your life and allows you to help as many people as possible, fulfilling many dreams in the process—which is the real reason you started your business to begin with, right?
Start by creating an “Activity Audit” to record the tasks you’re actually spending your time doing, because your business (and home life) will work better when you stop giving away your time to initiatives someone else at your firm could and should be handling.
In an MS Excel spreadsheet, create an Activity Audit to record business-related activities you perform within a three-month time span, including quarterly tasks. Don’t duplicate tasks. This is not a daily task list, it’s a list of accumulated tasks. No need to record how much time each task takes, either.
Label column 2, 3 and 4 “hate”, “like”, “love” and put an “x” in the box that best describes whether you hate, like, or love doing that specific activity.
Label column 4 with the title of who at your company could be doing the tasks, such as Office Manager, Administrative Assistant, Para-Planner, Senior, Junior Advisor, IT consultant, COO, CFO, etc.
Use the results of the Activity Audit to help you determine who to hire who will help you service your clients “right” while helping you grow your business. The process of creating an Activity Audit can help you delegate fairly across your team, determine hiring gaps, better define more accurate job descriptions, be used to determine who to cross-train, plan for future hires, and be a first step to getting your lives back.
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