by Suzanne Muusers
Do you have a compass to plan where you're going with your practice? Are you excited to get to work every day? Are you focused on success? Do you want to grow your practice?
Let's face it. Not everyone wants to grow. Some advisers are very happy where they are and don't want to change, grow or work harder; and that's OK. But if you're the kind of adviser who wants more out of your practice and your life, then the solutions in this article pertain to you.
We'll examine how to create a vision of your future success, determine what kind of goals you should have, establish methods to motivate yourself daily and diagnose common goal-setting mistakes. Finally, we'll learn how to use six steps to get started with goal setting for big practice growth.
What is your big vision? It's quite common for advisers to say they want more financial success but not recognize what they want. To make goal setting work for you, create a vision of your practice and your life as though you already have it all. Think of it this way: when you reach the pinnacle of your career, how will you live your life? This is your life's big vision.
To help you create this vision, answer these questions:
- What level of income do you want in five years?
- Where will you live?
- How many clients will you have?
- How many people do you need on your team?
- What will your schedule look like?
If you can create a mental image of your perfect life, you can take steps to create such a life. Here's a sample vision for an adviser who knows what he wants: seven-figure income with no more than 50 clients; a three-person office in the city; a lake house with plenty of room for the kids to play; a breakaway, portable office using a smart phone for transparent trips to the lake house; a Monday through Thursday work week with most Fridays off; more than 130 days off per year.
When I ask advisers about their goals, they usually name a gross income dollar amount. When I ask about deeper goals such as the smaller actions that create progress toward the bigger goal, they are silent. Goal-setting success depends on direction. Deciding where you want to go helps you get there.
What kind of goals should you have? Here are just a few examples:
- Number of new clients you want to attract broken down by month
- New assets under management or production monthly
- Revenue you want to achieve broken down by month
- New products, services or marketing you want to implement in the next year
- Number of outbound calls to existing clients and prospects daily
- Number of client appointments per week
- Number of prospects you want in your pipeline
Personal goals such as staying healthy, vacations, family and fun
To anchor your direction and gain motivation, think about why you want more. I think one of the biggest issues impeding advisers' growth is not knowing why they want more. If you can deepen your mental picture to include reasons why you want more success in your practice, you'll find the motivation you need to get there.
Some common reasons to want a top-producing practice include: to provide a carefree lifestyle for your family; to save for early retirement; to create a practice you can sell in the future; to have prestige, accomplishment and status in society; to be a trusted adviser to those in need.
Avoid Goal-Setting Mistakes
The biggest goal-setting mistake advisers make is to create goals and then not carry them out. When you create goals but put them aside you lose motivation because you are not focusing on your goals daily. See the goal exercise sidebar for a great way to make sure you are envisioning success and thinking about it daily.
Other common goal-setting mistakes include having unrealistic or vague goals. Your goals must be in line with your capabilities and your potential. If you set a goal of 50 percent revenue growth in one year, that's not realistic. And, a goal must be stated clearly and be specific with a target date. Goals without a deadline are just a dream.
You must also take action to achieve your goals; focus on high pay-off activities that get results.
One last fatal mistake is not having support. If you create your goals in secret without support and guidance, you will be less likely to create momentum. Share your goals with your team, your spouse and your friends.
Take the time to plan your success by blocking time on your calendar for a goal-setting session. During this time, think about your practice development and how you have achieved results thus far. Be prepared to make a plan for big practice growth. Here are six steps to getting started:
Step 1: Compose the vision of the future you.
Step 2: Decide why you want more success.
Step 3: Write down the three goals you want to accomplish in the next six to 12 months.
Step 4: For each goal, decide on three to five actions you will take to achieve that goal.
Step 5: Decide the target dates for each action.
Step 6: Make an implementation plan and block time on your calendar weekly to work toward each goal. Friday afternoons seem to work well for many advisers.
Imagine your life with a success compass showing you the way. Imagine working on your practice weekly and watching as new clients come in the door. Advisers who take the time to work on their goals find themselves more motivated and focused on big practice growth.
Suzanne Muusers is a credentialed business coach helping financial advisers plan their success through goal setting and accountability. Visit her at www.ProsperousAdvisor.com.
Sample Goal-Setting Results
Goal #1: Bring in $10 million in new investable assets within 12 months (10 to 30 new A or B clients with investable assets between $250,000 and $1 million).
Actions to achieve the goal:
- Call five clients per day; ask for referrals daily
- Take two A clients to lunch per month
- Schedule client reviews; ask for referrals and for new assets monthly
- Do more networking to create a pipeline of 75 prospects; schedule appointments with five prospects per week
- Create three center of influence relationships; meet with COI monthly
Goal #2: Produce new, high-quality branding to attract high-net-worth clients.
Actions to achieve the goal (each step should have a target date):
- Hire a professional designer
- Create new business cards
- Create a tagline to enhance image
- Create a brochure
- Create a website
Goal #3: Position the firm as a wealth management expert for affluent business owners.
Actions to achieve the goal:
- Write special reports and articles for clients and prospects that address their problems and solutions; write one report or article per month
- Seek out speaking engagements to pre-established groups; speak quarterly
- Solicit the media to publish articles in trade journals and publications that are of interest to your target client; send press releases monthly