Every single adviser makes every single mistake that every other adviser who went before them has made.
There, I said it.
And I’m sorry if it sounds harsh. It’s not meant to be. It’s simply meant to get you thinking about the upside of not making some of those mistakes.
And the upside is massive.
Let me give you some examples of mistakes every owner-adviser makes and then show you the benefits if you can sidestep them.
Here’s a list for starters:
- Hiring staff that need training when you’ve got no capacity to train them
- Not hiring staff soon enough
- Skimping on wages when one great hire can do the work of three good ones
- Dreaming up new ways to price when pricing is not the real issue
- Copying a pricing strategy you’ve read about in the industry press when the promoter of the idea hasn’t really worked out how to do it right yet themselves
- Not hiring a Practice Manager
- Not letting the Practice Manager make decisions once they’re hired (control freakery)
- Writing detailed financial planning reports and giving them to clients
- Hiring more advisers to drive growth (when this is actually the road to hell)
- Believing that more marketing will generate more leads
- Outsourcing blog writing or content creation
- Developing younger successors and then hanging around so long your successor leaves you
- Selling to an external buyer who promises the world and ends up dudding you on the price, but you signed an NDA so it never makes the industry press. (Not to mention it’s embarrassing to admit you f***ed this up so badly)
There are many other mistakes I could list here.
As a consultant who loves financial planners, can I just state for the record that it pains me to see this shit going on?
I know what you’re thinking. “This guy (me, Brett Davidson) sells his expertise for money, of course, he’d say that.” And it’s a fair call.
However, as many of you reading this blog will know I’m also pretty generous with my time and do a lot of free calls with people in trouble trying to get them unstuck. And I also give away a lot of free and reasonably priced support too.
Believe me, seeing owner-advisers struggle is not fun for me. My business exists so you don’t have to do that.
If you can avoid even some of these mistakes, do you know the difference it can make to your businesses trajectory?
That difference starts small and very quickly become huge.
I’ve worked with a ton of businesses that are stuck at a level of turnover between £300,000 and £800,000 pa.
They’re making all the same mistakes every other adviser who went before them has made.
The number one issue to get right in this phase of growth is your support team. Without the right support around you, the owner, you’re already a victim of your own success. If you’ve grown to a level of turnover above £300k you’ve proved your concept; people like what you sell. However, it’s easy to get to a place where you and your team are pushing too hard and feeling overwhelmed.
If you can crack the team issue and get amazing people who already know how to do the job in each key role, then you can focus 100% on what you’re good at; seeing clients and finding new clients to see.
The second step is to simplify delivery.
Every financial planner I know has over-engineered the advice process, driven by a fear of compliance. There’s a lot of information that can be communicated differently (i.e. not via a lengthy report most clients don’t read) greatly simplifying your process and saving your back office team literally hours and hours of time.
Solve these two issues (team and simplicity) and you’re well on the way.
When you get your business working, you can grow and actually have an easier life. Most owner-advisers have a fear of growth because they tell themselves that if turning over £500k hurts this much then turning over £1M will hurt twice as much and they’ll die.
But it’s not true.
If you focus on the right issues you can keep growing through the levels while others around you get stuck for years and years. However, for that to happen you can’t be making the same mistakes as every other adviser.