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Set Yourself Up for Success with a Strategic Mindset

Do you ever feel that you are on a treadmill, working as hard as you can just to keep up? Perhaps you’re an adviser with a successful firm but struggle to break out to the next level or to gain back your time and freedom. Maybe you’re among a growing group of seasoned advisers not yet ready to retire but bored by the routine and wondering how to regain their enthusiasm or explore new adventures. Or perhaps you’re a newer adviser figuring out the best, fastest way to achieve greater success.

If any of these feel familiar, your vision may feel out of reach.

Few advisers have clear strategic plans or a process for managing their vision. I often hear how this is “marketing fluff” because one just needs to get out there and get to work. Still other advisers do strategic planning, but with limited success achieving the results they desire.

If you’re working hard and spinning, it’s not because you lack momentum, it’s because you lack direction. After all, people on a treadmill don’t need a map. If you want to create a bigger, better future for yourself and your firm, a strategic plan is a valuable tool to have—but not nearly as important as a strategic mindset.

You Can’t Win Whack-a-Mole

Advisers often find themselves playing a perpetual game of “whack-a-mole”—the arcade game where you whack a mole head with a foam mallet as they pop up at you. Your job is to hit as many heads as possible in the time allotted, and the more you hit the faster they come. Whack-a-mole is a game no one really wins, and you feel like you’re scrambling to keep up the entire time.

This game is reminiscent of advisory firms, where a considerable amount of effort is invested reacting to daily circumstances but never really gaining control over the practice or its future.

Strategic Mindset to Create Shifts in Success

Having a strategic mindset means you have a vision for your business beyond this calendar year’s goals—that you can envision what you want the business to be in your next stage of success. You set clear strategic priorities that drive broader goals that will create immediate business impact and progress toward those long-term goals.

In short, you shift your mindset to focus on the strategy and priorities that will be most impactful, and focus your energy, attention and resources there to shift yourself from reacting to your reality to confidently creating a better one.

Forget Your Fear

The biggest reason advisers don’t achieve their envisioned futures is that they are afraid to change their current situation for fear of the potential risks and downsides. Whether we’re discussing their desire to accelerate growth, reduce complexity and overwhelm, increase profitability, better manage their teams, make the business more independent of them, working to systematize and scale or even successfully shift to a successor or merge with or be acquired by another firm—fear of the unknown is usually the culprit for the status quo.

Neuroscience now shows us that success is 80 percent mindset and 20 percent methods. Thus, mastering your mindset is the single biggest step you can take to confidently create a bigger, better future for your business and life.

Shifting into a Strategic Mindset in 60 Minutes

To get started, follow the 60 minute, six-step process outlined in my Coaches Corner on mindset to ensure you bring a strategic mindset to your planning.

As you shift into a strategic mindset, you raise your awareness, lift your head and step off the treadmill that keeps you trapped in the status quo.

Except this time, you’ll step off with a new sense of clarity and confidence—which is exactly what you need to create the bigger, better future you’ve just imagined.

Editor’s note: This blog post is an excerpt from the FPA Coaches Corner whitepaper, “Make 2019 Your Year: Business and Career Tips to Get the Most out of 2019.” See the full whitepaper here.

Stephanie Bogan

Stephanie Bogan is the CEO of Educe, Inc., and former CEO/Founder of Quantuvis Consulting (sold to Genworth Financial in 2008) and has spent 20 years consulting with the profession’s top advisory firms and enterprises. Educe is focused on helping financial advisors, entrepreneurs and executives build wildly successful businesses and lives that they love by expanding their mindset and business methods in ways that help them experience greater levels of success, happiness, wealth and well-being in their work. Bogan is a coach in the FPA Coaches Corner.


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4 Steps to Redefining Your Reference Point

Most financial advisers settle into a routine after a few years in the business. However, oftentimes routines turn into ruts. Many of my clients wonder why their business is coasting along but not growing. I tell them that it may be time to take a moment to evaluate and possibly restructure their activities.

If this is happening to you, don’t be discouraged. Rather choose to redefine your reference point. Our past experiences can hold us back from future success because they may limit our confidence to try new things.

Pablo Picasso said it best when he said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

The secret to redefining your reference point is to think out of the box, find someone who has done what you would like to do, learn from their example and take action.

Let’s take a deeper look at each one of these steps.

Step 1: Think Out of the Box

As with most journeys in life, the first step is always the hardest. You must ask yourself the tough questions in order to begin. Questions such as, “Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What do I need to do differently to get there?” Asking yourself these types of questions and analyzing your answers helps you to think out of the box. It encourages the mind to look for solutions.

Jeff K., a financial adviser with 28 years of experience, had been on a production plateau for year. After attending a free Adviser Solutions Mastermind Session and hearing some of the tools and resources I recommend to other advisers, he contacted me to discuss his business. This act of asking for insight was foreign to him since he had never spoken to a business consultant/coach before.

Step 2: Find a Mentor

The next step is to find a mentor who can help you determine all of the steps needed between where you are currently and where you would like to be. This can be a difficult step for many advisers especially veteran ones who may have to consider advice from others who have not been in the business as long as they have. The key is to find a mentor who has proven results and whose opinion you value.

Step 3: Learn from Their Example

In order to produce the same types of results that other successful advisers have, find out what they have done to accomplish those positive outcomes. It’s important to fully understand their step-by-step process so that you can tweak that for yourself.

Once Jeff explained his situation to me I knew we needed to map out a great prospecting campaign and since he had a large client base I explored the possibility of prospecting by asking for referrals. Over the years, he had tried numerous times to get referrals but ended up very disappointed with the results. I detailed out the process for him, we role-played the dialogue and I coached him on the reasons why a focused referral system works.

Step 4: Take Action

The most important step is to take action—without doing so everything else is just wishful thinking.

Jeff began the Adviser Solutions Client-Centered Referral Process right away and within a week he reported to me that he had received five referrals. That is more than he had gotten the entire previous year. He was so excited about it that he gave me a referral to his boss who he believed needed to hear this process and whom ended up having me teach it to his entire region.

Why Redefining Your Reference Point Works

The key to creating success is to constantly redefine your reference point because it keeps you open to exploring new ways of improving.

If this blog resonates with you and you’d like a free consultation with me, email Melissa Denham, director of client servicing for Advisor Solutions.

Dan Finley

Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.


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5 Steps to Plan to Succeed

We all get overwhelmed and spread too thin. Without a plan, an organization can lose its direction. In this industry, when servicing numerous clients, it is easy to lose sight of a longer-term vision. When that happens, a business can stall out or take a wrong turn.

This year, take the following five steps to increase your success.

1.) Think differently.

Step away from the business. Look at the trends and envision where the industry is going. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Determine how you will differentiate yourself in the future to stay one step ahead of the competition.

2.) Set layers of goals.

Start with big goals, like ‘We want to grow by 25 percent net of market performance,’ but do not stop there. Break down the larger goals into many parts. For example, how much growth is going to come from existing clients? Can share of wallet be increased in certain client relationships? Can introductions be made to prospects? What marketing is needed to win more client referrals? What events should be held? What client research is needed? What is the budget for each line item? Keep asking questions so the specifics are mapped out.

Continue to set other big goals and then go through the same exercise of asking numerous questions for each goal. If you are not good getting into the details, consider hiring a facilitator or consultant to help.

3.) Define owners.

Bring the entire team in to help flesh out the plan before it is completed. Each person in the organization should know his or her role and what he or she owns. Give the team defined responsibilities and hold each teammate accountable. If possible, tie in compensation to motivate all those who contribute to the success of the organization.

4.) Define metrics for success.

Review the goals and determine the key performance indicators. Set up multiple meetings in advance to regularly review the status of the plan. At a minimum, the meetings should be held quarterly. Monthly is probably the right frequency. Weekly meetings can fall into the micromanagement category, so avoid making things too tedious. With that said, there still might be data points that are gathered each week to eliminate surprises.

5.) Make improvements.

Learn from mistakes and evolve. Just because the plan is documented, does not mean it is set in stone. Determine if assistance is needed and invest in your organization where it can make a difference.

Hopefully this advice brings increased success! Need help with your plan? Contact Byrnes Consulting for assistance or visit the FPA Coaches Corner for more information.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the FPA Coaches Corner whitepaper titled “Make 2019 Your Year: Business and Career Tips to Get the Most Out of 2019.” Read the full whitepaper here.

Mike Byrnes Headshot

Michael W. Byrnes Jr. is a national speaker and founder and president of Byrnes Consulting, LLC. He founded Burnes Consulting in April 2008 with a dream of helping business become more successful. He is also the business growth strategies coach for the FPA Coaches Corner.