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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: How Adam Cmejla's Transformed his Business and Narrowed his Focus

Adam Cmejla describes the steps he went through to raise his financial planning fees and focus on a niche audience of optometrists.



Welcome back to the 140th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Adam Cmejla. Adam is the founder of Integrated Planning & Wealth Management, an independent RIA based in Carmel, Indiana that oversees approximately $45 million in assets under advisement for nearly 100 financial planning clients.

What’s unique about Adam, though, is the incredible transformation his practice has gone through over the past 2 years, as a shift in mindset has led him to grow revenue by nearly 80% over what he had built the first 10 years cumulatively by both raising his financial planning fees and going all-in on a niche of serving optometrists.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Adam’s marketing process has evolved over the years, from starting out at Waddell & Reed where he immersed himself in local networking groups like BNI and Indianapolis Rainmakers, to beginning to shift his focus towards working with VDOCs, veterinarians, doctors, optometrists, and chiropractors, by focusing his marketing on white coat professions and launching a podcast, to further narrowing down his focus to just serve optometrists after realizing it’s actually easier to market it and grow his firm as the target clientele narrows, which in turn has led him from charging as little as $400 a year for financial planning for his legacy clients, to charging $595 per month plus $1,000 upfront or over $8,000 a year in planning fees for his ideal target client.

We also talk about the mindset shifts that Adam went through to reinvent his practice over the past 2 years after hitting the wall from his first 10. From moving away to setting his value in terms of the time he spends on clients and instead looking more directly to what his clients say they value the most, which wasn’t the depth of his financial planning data analysis, the steps he took to raise his financial planning fees by as much as 100% to 300% over the past year to fix legacy clients that were being undercharged, and the way he balanced bringing in new ideal clients along with raising fees on existing clients as a way to overcome his own fears that clients might terminate him for the fee increases, even though in the end, virtually none of them did.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Adam shares his top advice to fellow financial planners. If you’re really wondering if you should raise your fees, the answer is already yes. How the transformation of his advisory firm enabled a transformation with his wife and children by allowing the entire family to reallocate the time they spend together, and how Adam has institutionalized the processes and workflows he’s developed in Redtail CRM to the point that he’s now also beginning to consult other advisors on how they can adapt and implement the same efficiencies in their own advisory firms.

So whether you’re interested in learning why narrowing your focus can help grow your advisory business, ways to systematize your business processes, or why the answer to the question, “Should I raise my fees?” is almost always, “yes,” then we how you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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