In the most recent U.S News and World Report best jobs rankings, “financial advisor” is #4 in “Best Business Jobs.” It makes sense. It’s rewarding, because advisors can make a great impact on the lives of their clients, helping them achieve their financial goals . At the same time, it’s the other kind of rewarding – the average financial advisor makes a comfortable living. As my mother used to say, it beats digging ditches (does anyone still say that?).
But, as with any business, there are good days and bad days. Today, I want to look at them both.
Start with the good
What do your good days look like? For most, it probably looks something like this:
- Meet with clients – Solving problems and creating solutions. It means planning and helping them realize their goals.
- Meet with prospects – Getting to know someone, not by some random 18-question questionnaire, but really getting to know their hopes, dreams and goals for their future (and then knowing that you can help).
- Meet with friends who are centers of influence – People who have common business goals and shared visions of ways to better serve clients.
- Planning – Putting together a plan or solution that you know will benefit your clients, maybe save them in taxes or put them in a better situation that will help get them closer to achieving their goals.
Sounds great, right? For most advisors that I talk with, this is not just a good day, it’s a great day. It is why we get up in the morning. It is why we are in the business that we are in. Luckily, the good days usually outweigh the bad ones.
The dark side
Now let’s think about those bad days. They probably look something like this:
- Work on administrative tasks – Money in or raising cash for clients, while trying to keep the clients’ allocations intact. Rebalancing accounts. Changes of address (in the CRM and at the multiple custodians).
- Deal with HR issues – Writing job descriptions and searching resumes for that new admin. Working with payroll companies. Benefits for the staff. Compensation comparisons to make sure you’re paying competitive wages.
- Focus on your IT issues – The constant worry of cybersecurity and privacy. Managing multiple different technologies in your office, wondering if you have the most current version of each, and hoping that the disparate technology can someday talk to one another (or at least not cause each other to crash). Maintain a unique set of rules, logons and support systems for each.
- Make sure you are in compliance with all regulators – SEC or state regulators, FINRA and the Dept. of Labor’s rules around investor suitability or your conflict of interest. Making sure firm employees’ licenses and CE are up to date.
I’m sure you could add more (good and bad) to the list, but to me, there is a pattern. The good days are filled with being face-to-face with clients, prospects or COIs. The bad days are typically behind a computer screen. The good days are filled with what we want to do; the bad, with what we have to do.
What I also find interesting is that the good days are filled with revenue-generating tasks and the bad days are typically filled with expense-generating tasks (with a cost-saving measure thrown in). Sure those tasks have to be done, and yes, they are important to running a successful practice – but are you really the right person to do them? So if, personally, you do more of the good day things and less of the bad day things, wouldn’t your business be doing better, too? The answer is a resounding YES – and we have a new paper to prove it.
Do more good
Next week, Raef Lee and I will be cohosting a webinar, How to Find the Time to Grow Your Business, which looks at advisor businesses that try to do it all, versus advisory firms that outsource tasks such as IT, people, compliance and yes, even investments. Through FP Transitions’ extensive database (Brad Bueermann, CEO of FP Transitions, is a co-author of our paper), we’ll also look at how the businesses differ in both profitability and valuation in our accompanying report, The Value of Time: Quantifying How Client Focus Increases the Value of Your Business. I think you will be surprised with the results.
The webinar introduces our newest paper and benchmarking report, which will be available after the call. We’ll challenge you to (re)imagine your business model and adopt strategies that may lead to growth, profitability and scalability.
Please join Raef and me next week, Monday September 26th at 4 p.m. EDT, for our webinar and our newest paper, A Data-backed Solution to Building a More Profitable Advisory Business.