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Entrepreneurs: Focus on the Solution, Then Walk Backwards to Success


When most people set a goal, they go immediately to work on the perceived next step in front of them—rather than focusing on what the end goal really looks and feels like.

Example: entrepreneurs worrying about whether they should form an LLP or a Corp.—or the colors of their logos—before truly living in the future where their big idea lives. Logos do deserve some energy, but are not going to determine success or failure. Forcing yourself to put the logo in context of the backward walk from the end will force other issues to the surface.

Throw your brain forward into the future; crystallize the change you want to accomplish in your mind. Live and breathe there—in the future where your idea is real. Then walk backwards from the future, step by step, to the present.

That backwards walk to today allows you to visualize the path you will need to take—and the plan you will need to execute—to achieve the future you envision.

At HighTower, we pioneered a business model that positioned the client at the center of the financial services system—and forced an industry of providers to compete for the client’s business. Our vision featured a centralized operating platform that performs every supporting function for a financial advisor so they can focus, undistracted, on the needs of the client. The walk backward from the solution illuminated many issues and challenges— some that no one else had ever tackled—but we knew that if we solved those issues, we would end up with something truly differentiating and better for the client.

We knew that conflicts of interest plagued our industry. The solution was clear, but unique in the marketplace, as the video above illustrates.

We were the first financial services firm to build a model that was the best of both worlds – the sophistication of a Wall Street firm coupled with the benefit of independent advisory firm, and we did it because we believed passionately that the financial services system needed to change. And our solution worked—because it was reverse-engineered from the future backward.

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