With the various challenges advisors face today—from new regulations to competitive pressures from robo advisors—finding ways to spur firm growth can be difficult. While any advisor knows to cut costs and increase revenue, the process of achieving those goals can be quite challenging. At AssetMark, we recently brought together some of the country’s top high-growth advisors for a yearlong study to help understand what makes these individuals and their firms so successful. Through spirited discussion and interactive exercises, the advisors landed upon four essential best practices on how to drive growth and increase firm revenue.
Diagnose and Build a Solid Foundation
Before making wholesale changes, advisors need to take the time to fully diagnose their business, assessing where and how it can be made more efficient. For instance, advisors need to ask themselves which parts of their businesses they would be better off using third-party platforms, and which areas they should continue to focus their resources and expertise. In addition to assessing strengths and weaknesses, advisors should begin to implement systematic processes for managing workflow and assigning tasks during the diagnosis process. A streamlined protocol for delegating who is responsible for advisory and non-advisory tasks provides advisors and staff with the framework to achieve results and maximize productivity. Once a streamlined process is in place, firms can then develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of their systems over time and make adjustments as appropriate.
Ensure Effective Use of Human Capital
High-growth advisors who participated in the study agreed that a key to generating growth is leveraging staff efficiently by proactively evaluating where employees will have the most impact. To do so, they found that using DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance), a behavioral style assessment tool that measures how individuals approach situations, was highly impactful. Gathering behavioral knowledge on each employee enables a firm to make more strategic decisions about hiring, placement and structural organization that will strengthen client relationships, improve internal communications and promote firm harmony.
No Substitute for Planning
A firm cannot achieve high growth without first creating a strategic plan. Advisors who participated in the study agreed on the need to set defined and unmovable time blocks to review quarterly objectives, monitor firm progress and develop new goals. These goals should include short-term tactical objectives, medium-term (1-2 year) structural opportunities and long-term expectations for the life of the business. While not all of the participating advisors traditionally engaged in this level of planning, they all understood that it would improve firm performance and facilitate growth.
Accountability Key for Lasting Change
Without accountability and ongoing assessment, no amount of strategic planning will produce higher growth metrics. The study participants reached a consensus on the fact that firms should employ a third-party partner or internal employee to continually monitor goal-oriented progress.
After a year of discussion, exercises and self-assessment, some of the industry’s most successful advisors settled upon these best practices for driving growth. For advisors at any level, these takeaways offer a roadmap on how to improve efficiency and ensure long-term success.
Matt Matrisian is Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at AssetMark, Inc. @AssetMark.