A few weeks back, we provided financial advisors looking to get started with a valuable roundup of some of the best posts from network co-founder Michael Kitces. Having these great reads all in one place can prove extremely valuable for any planner buried under questions and research to do when starting their own firm -- and we wanted to spread the love to established advisors, too.
Here's our second edition of the Kitces Roundup, where we've gathered together some of the best reads from Nerd's Eye View all in once place here. If you have questions about building better systems and processes for your firm once you're up and running, look no further:
Running a More Successful, Effective Business
"As we begin another new year, a fresh set of challenges and opportunities await the world of financial advisors. The themes remain the same as years past – technology, regulation, and practice management – but the landscape is shifting and changing."
"The power for human advisors to compete with robo-advisors lies entirely in the hands of human advisors to systematize their practices and utilize the available technology, to deliver virtually everything robo-advisors already do, and more gamma on top of it"
"Research finds that the key to time management is not merely about spending less time in the business, but instead is about spending more time on the right tasks in the business; in fact, advisors 'in control' of their time actually schedule significantly more meetings throughout the year - to the tune of another 50 client meetings, 10 prospect meetings, and 5 center-of-influence meetings - and do so by effectively focusing their business, their infrastructure and support, and their personal time, in the direction of those 'highest and best use' tasks."
"Airlines have still struggled to bring down their costs to be economically viable businesses.... But that challenge has also forced them to recognize how important it is to establish clear and consistent tiers of service, and price them accordingly. In the end, customized pricing may be appealing for a business, but it can make the process so hard for consumers to buy a service, that transparent and simple pricing/service tiers win out in the end."
Creating a Better Financial Planning Experience
"For most people, financial planning is difficult and complex - which is why they seek out professionals for assistance. Yet while the outcomes of working with a financial planner are positive, the actual experience of going through the financial planning process is not always pleasant...what if the client financial planning experience was more like a Build-A-Bear experience, where your clients happily pay twice as much for your services and want to spend hours going through the process and the experience of it?"
"It may be time to let go of the insistence that standardization of a financial planning process and deliverables are at odds with customized individual solutions for clients, and instead recognize that bringing better consistency to the process may actually be the thing that allows us to create more trust and make that personalized financial planning experience for clients better than ever."
"As consumers increasingly use the internet to research potential products and services, a financial planning firm's website is often the prospective client's first impression. Yet unfortunately, the reality is that most financial planning firms fail to answer the three basic questions any consumer has when visiting the website for a potential professional to hire: 1) What services do you provide? (i.e., what is your value); 2) Do you work with people like me? (i.e., what are your minimums and am I in your firm's target niche?); and most important, 3) How much will this cost?"
"Communicating with clients effectively has become increasingly challenging in today’s world, not because it’s difficult to find a way to communicate with clients but because there’s often uncertainty about how much communication is appropriate, and by what means/channels. Are in-person meetings best, or are phone calls preferable? Is email better than a phone call? Where do one-to-many communications like newsletters and social media fit in?"
Marketing Yourself and Your Firm
"The key to differentiation is to turn around 180 degrees, and become more focused and specialized, to truly become the best-in-class for a particular type of clientele that can be served effectively and profitably. While that might result in fewer prospects, real differentiation ultimately results in more actual clients, allowing advisors to grow their businesses smarter, instead of just working harder."
"Ultimately, the true challenge of building a successful firm to serve Gen X/Y clients is not really about the business model, per se, which can easily produce a healthy personal income at a reasonable 100-150 clients, but instead how to grow and get to that number of clients in the first place. In other words, while designing the right business model helps, in the long run the real problem serving Gen X and Gen Y is a marketing problem."
"In this week's MailBag, we look at a question about how to get started and best practices for building media visibility, getting articles published, and getting quoted in the press."
"In this week's MailBag, we look at a question about how to get started using Twitter (and other social media) as a busy financial planner. What are the tools for efficiency, and what are the tips and tricks to get started easily?"