When financial advisors think about growing their business, they often focus on the short-term perspective: increasing wealth and growing sales. But what’s further down the road? If you want to create sustainable growth, scale your business, or build a lasting legacy, you need to broaden your mindset and formulate a plan that goes beyond just attracting new customers.
For long-term growth, consider hiring an Associate Advisor. Whether you are a solo practice, a multi-advisor firm, or a large corporation, an Associate Advisor can help you grow, evolve, and fuel your success for many years to come.
Here we take a look at the benefits of hiring an Associate Advisor and explore the steps you can take to get a return on your investment.
How an Associate Advisor can support your growth
If you’ve been thinking about bringing another consultant into your business, you might think the best approach is to acquire or merge with someone who already has an established book. However, it can take a long time to find an established consultant that suits your business. On the other hand, hiring an Associate Advisor can benefit you in several ways:
1. Encourage growth on your terms. With an Associate Advisor, you’ll have a clean slate – someone who will take your lead and adapt to your way of doing business. When they’re ready, they can collaborate with your downstream accounts, allowing you to focus on servicing your top accounts and strategizing with your team to drive growth.
2. Work with the next generation. If you have clients whose children do not regularly attend meetings, you may risk losing those assets if they are passed on. Who better to work with the next generation of clients than next generation advisors?
When you hire someone – or a team of someone – who knows how to market to and work with these younger, prospective customers, you stand a better chance of keeping the assets in the company.
3. Gain new perspectives. While you likely have systems and processes in place that are working flawlessly, a closer look at what’s going on in your practice can open up new perspectives you hadn’t thought of. Associate Consultants may be familiar with new software that can save time, have ideas to increase efficiency, or be able to optimize social media channels for better marketing. change is good.
4. Ensure continuity. If you don’t already have a succession plan, now might be a good time to start preparing. Planning at least 10-15 years ahead will keep you on track when you’re ready to step back.
Whether you are an individual Consultant or an ensemble, hiring a next-generation Consultant to guide you through the partnership journey can give you time to prepare for your eventual succession and secure your company’s legacy. And it can give your customers peace of mind that there will be a seamless business transition when the time comes.
From hiring to training: How to create a plan
Hiring and training an Associate Advisor takes more time and effort than hiring someone with an established book or following the M&A route. But it will allow you to realize your vision for the future of your practice. With the right planning and nurturing, you can attract the best candidate and develop them into a future partner and successor (if that’s your goal).
Here are some tips:
1. Define the role you are hiring for. Before you begin your search, determine what you are looking for in a candidate. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
How much experience should they have?
Should they be licensed or have designations?
When do you start talking to customers?
Are they expected to write their own book?
How do they fit into the company’s long-term plans?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of who you want to hire (eg, an intern, a recent graduate, or a new CFP).® professional). And you can qualify candidates based on the career path you want them to take.
2. Set clear expectations. When you hire a new employee, let them know what is expected of them. This way they understand what career changes are changing and what skills and behaviors they need to develop. But remember, by setting expectations, you must also help them sustain their progress.
3. Create a development plan. Hiring an Associate Advisor takes time and money. Creating a plan will prepare you for what you need to do to develop your new hire. Here are some things to consider:
offer training. Provide them with the right training to gain the confidence and competency they need to become a functioning consultant. This can include sales and relationship building, business development and self-management. Also, decide what licenses or designations they should get and give them a timeframe for completion. If you don’t have the time or resources for full in-house training, check out what programs your corporate partner offers.
Give them the time they need. Make sure you’re available if you have any questions, concerns, or problems. Be present to support them throughout their development and help them with any challenges they may face. And systematize feedback through regular meetings and performance reviews.
Find out about their progress. Did you set expectations for when they would pass their license exams, receive a CFP® certification, or attend client meetings? Remember to track their progress to make sure they don’t have to take on too many chores.
Stay up to date. Make sure they achieve the goals you set. If the plan was to start talking to clients within a year, are they still on track? Goals can change over time, and the more transparent you are about how they’re shaping up and what you expect from them, the better off you’ll both be.
Build your business for the long term
Everyone has growth plans and nobody wants their business to stagnate. But have you thought about your short-term goals? And long term? There’s nothing wrong with focusing on short-term growth through acquiring new customers and additional assets. However, if you are looking to develop your practice, build scale and ensure your business endures, consider hiring an Associate Advisor. If taken care of, it is an investment that can bring many benefits.
What your business needs to thrive now and for years to come.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your practice to the next level, having a clear growth plan is crucial.