Over the past two decades, the Oechsli Institute has researched thousands of elite financial advisors. One of the consistent findings, year after year, is that elite financial advisors hire in advance of a need for staff. In other words, they focus on capacity-leading-demand instead of capacity-lagging-demand.
This is only applicable to teams who are in (or want to be in) a growth mode. There’s no need to add staff for the sake of adding staff. When you think about hiring, questions arise like, “Can I afford a new team member?” “What would the new team member do?” “What will I do with more available hours?”
Perhaps the biggest question is, “When’s the right time to hire someone?” Here are a few telltale signs that it may be time to take the plunge and hire personnel:
- It’s costing you money: The biggest sign that it’s time to hire someone is that saving money is actually costing you money. If you’re unable to take advantage of opportunities because of capacity or expertise on staff, it may be time to hire someone else.
For example, if your time could be spent on business development that results in new opportunities and you could free your time by delegating administrative tasks, that may be a good trade-off.
- You (and your staff) are feeling burned out: Is the fire gone? Are you and your existing staff feeling overworked? Are you working long hours? Have you taken a vacation recently? Do too many projects and initiatives go unfinished? Does your staff seem more irritable? If the workload is overwhelming and everyone is always “too busy,” it may be time to consider adding a new team member.
- Client service is suffering: Are client complaints occurring more often? Is it becoming difficult for clients to reach you? Are your satisfaction scores dipping? If your client-to-advisor ratio is off-balance or your service level seems unattainable, it may be time to consider adding additional staff.
- You’re simply not growing: If your day-to-day operations hinder you from executing a proactive marketing strategy, it may be time to hire someone. This often happens when advisors develop an established business, reach a level of complexity and find themselves servicing only their existing book. If you are unable to devote time to business development, this is a red flag.
If you've recognized these signs in your business, it might be time to consider hiring. Bringing in new personnel is never easy, and there is a risk. However, if you plan to scale your business, you'll have to get comfortable with the fact that you can't do it all.
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are partners with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com