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When to Hire a Consultant for Your Financial Advisory Firm

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Written by: Ginny Hudgens | The Strategic Implementer

I’m sure many of you have asked yourself this same question at one time or another. Should I hire a third party to help me with my business and whatever challenges I may be facing?

The answer is maybe.  Not all business owners are going to benefit from this type of work.  We have our own set of criteria (see below) and I’m sure other Consultants (for the purpose of my writing, I am going to use Consultant to encompass all manner of third parties who work with Advisors on practice management or coaching) have their set of criteria.  Most of us are vetting you in the same way you are vetting us. Why? Simple, we’re looking for a quality of life as well and working with someone who is either a bad fit for my firm or not open to others’ points of view makes for a stressful work life.

So, who might benefit?

  • You have some size to your firm. Let’s face it, in the early days, you are just trying to stay afloat.  When I get calls from smaller firms, it’s not that I don’t want to help them, it’s just that the only real advice I can give them is “market like Hell” because you need revenue to get to the next step.  I leave a certain number of slots open on a pro bono basis for these types of firms and have them filled at all times.  However, we have found we work best with firms with AUM greater than $50MM or gross profit of $500k or more.
  • You recognize the need for a well-thought out strategic plan – You know your clients need a financial plan to meet their goals – same goes for your business.
  • You understand the need for high performing team members, you want to mentor them and help them be fellow visionaries – I get frustrated when I talk to advisors and they tell me they are trying to get the least expensive person or they don’t understand the need to mentor their employees. I can promise you, without the best of the best staff being paid well and getting ongoing training, you will NOT get where you want to go.
  • You are open to the opinions of others – ‘nough said!
  • You are interested in a great quality of life – if it’s all about money for you, you probably won’t benefit from a Consultant. Most of us – I would say at least the ones worth their salt – got into this business because we also want a quality of life – it’s one of our core values.

So, if you’re considering this route, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I working IN my business and not ON it? Do I come in each day and say “today I’ll have time to work on this or that” related to your business but never do?
  2. Do I find myself frustrated because I don’t have time to be a business owner versus a financial advisor? How do I get out of the day-to-day work of running a business so I can focus on my real value as a financial advisor?
  3. Do I need advice on how to run my business versus being a financial advisor? Obviously, these are two different skills sets – one being the Technician and one being the Entrepreneur (as Michael Gerber lays out so well in The eMyth).

Related: When It’s Time to Replace a Legacy Employee

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will most likely benefit from working with a Consultant.

What are the questions you should ask when evaluating a coach/consultant?

  1. What do I want from a Consultant? If I were to look out a year, what has to have happened in this relationship for me to say “that was great, I accomplished my goals”?
  2. Do I want high level coaching or do I want more hands on implementation? Do I want someone to provide templates that I and/or my team can impellent or do I want a more hands-on approach?
  3. What kind of personality would I work best with? Someone more laid back or someone who will push me a little more?
  4. Are you seeking personal “life” coaching or consulting for your practice or a combination of both?
  5. Are they willing to share hard truths with you?

And finally, please know that any consultant with your best interest at heart will tell you if they are not a good fit and will refer you to someone else in the industry.  Most of us are just interested in seeing you get the help you need, whether it’s us or someone else.

You can schedule a complimentary call with us to see if we are a fit and answer any questions you may have.  Again, we’re looking to work with a small group of elite advisors so we will be honest with you as to whether or not we are a good fit. We may also be able to give you a few ideas you can implement immediately.

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