12 MIN READ
If you've launched an RIA of your own, then you're no stranger to making tough decisions. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but that never stops no matter how far along you are in your firm ownership journey. Eventually, you'll come up against a particularly challenging choice: whether or not you want to grow your firm. Many financial advisors agonize over this decision, weighing their options time and time again as they waver back and forth between "yes" and "no."
We're here to help.
XY Planning Network helps advisors successfully navigate difficult decisions like this and the transitions that follow. Many of our in-house experts have weighed in on the topic of firm growth—we've rounded up a handful of our most popular posts written for advisors who find themselves at this pivotal fork in the road.
The Benefits, Challenges, and Costs of Growing Your Firm
by Malcolm Thomas & David Bayless
Financial planning firms typically go through different evolutions as they progress from the point of launch to the point of growth.
Throughout every evolution, business needs also change.
In the launch phase, advisors are focused on their initial marketing launch plan: getting in front of potential clients and then converting those prospects to clients, actually signing their first few clients, and setting up their base services and fee structure. The launch phase is largely about establishing your client base—and subsequently revenue—and setting a foundation for your business.
Once you have accomplished this, it’s time to grow.
Growth will come from evaluating what worked and what didn’t work early on and making changes accordingly: refining who your ideal client is and how you communicate with them, updating processes to enhance the client experience, and making your business more effective.
Don't Be Afraid to Grow Your Firm
by Alan Moore
There is a common myth among many entrepreneurs that running a big business is harder and more complex than running a small one. This fear of complexity often prevents firm owners from taking their business to the next level. This is especially unfortunate because the belief that bigger means more complex is a total myth.
The sheer size of a company is not what drives complexity. Complexity comes from a lot of different areas, but size typically isn’t one of them. Your business model and the structures and systems you have in place (or don’t have in place) are the biggest drivers of complexity.
Big businesses can actually be less complex to manage, especially if you put the right business model, infrastructure, and people in place. For example, a big firm running a single service model will be less complex than a small firm running 10 service models.
So when the time comes for you to decide whether or not you want to grow your firm, don’t let fear of complexity be what stops you from answering “yes.”
How to Activate and Accelerate Your Financial Planning Firm's Growth
by Malcolm Thomas
At XYPN, we have been mapping out the path for RIA firms through each phase of their business journey.
No two independent financial advisors share the same story, of course, but the firm ownership journey itself is globally characterized by four distinct phases.
Once you enter the growth phase, you will be faced with a number of decisions that ultimately come back to one question: what type of firm do you want to run? This is one of the great aspects of entrepreneurship—you ultimately get to determine the type of business you want to build.
When and How to Build Your Financial Advisory Team
by Malcolm Thomas
Most of today’s successful financial advisory firms were started by individual advisors who built their businesses from the ground up. They were responsible for every facet of business ownership—prospecting, marketing, defining their client service model—all while figuring out on the fly how to best serve their clients and build a successful, profitable business.
Many of these advisors got their start at product manufacturers or wirehouses where the revenue models were based on sales and commissions with little to no recurring or predictable revenue being generated by the business. This business model made it difficult for advisors to plan long-term and specifically commit to hiring and developing employees who would be essential to sustainable growth.
A Strategic Guide to Google Search Ads for Growing Advisory Firms
by Carolyn Dalle-Molle
Consumers search online for financial advisors every. single. day.
In fact, according to Google’s Keyword Planner, more than 112,000 searches occur for either “financial planner” or “fee-only financial planner” during an average month.
So why not pay a few dollars to appear when the right person is searching for you?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, yes, these two industry keywords—financial planner and fee-only financial planner—are broad and incredibly popular and therefore require high bids. Few independent firms want, or have the budget, to spend the $25+ needed to get a single click for these example keywords. Fortunately, there are budget-friendly ways to make a presence in the vast world of online searches. More on this later.
The question remains: Why NOT place an ad so you appear when someone is searching for an advisor like you?
Options for Growing Your Financial Planning Firm
by Alan Moore
We’ve profiled many financial planners and advisors who successfully launched their RIAs and managed to get an initial book of business with a few clients. Those stories and exciting and inspiring when you’re thinking about your own launch -- but they do leave a few questions unanswered for those who are already in business.
Like this one: what happens next?
All successful firms run by independent advisors will eventually come to the realization that, no, you can't do it all yourself. As an entrepreneur, you get to wear many different hats from being the financial planner all the way down to being the janitor.
But as you grow you can no longer do everything yourself, for many reasons.
Grow Your RIA with an Accountability Partner: What Would Arlene Say?
by Arlene Moss
I believe everyone needs an accountability partner at some point. We need them to keep us on track to achieve a fitness goal, to help us through those often-rocky early years of parenthood, to motivate us to ace the final exam, to push us to improve our personal relationships, and to keep us on the path to being the best business professionals we can be. Accountability partners truly are part of the “secret sauce” that makes those rockstar financial planners we see and admire so dang amazing. They’re definitely not going it alone! And you shouldn’t either.
You might have considered seeking out an accountability partner before, but perhaps it’s been just an “idea” for a bit too long. Most people go about finding an accountability partner incorrectly. It’s like we’re all just sitting around, waiting for someone who will relentlessly hold us accountable (read: calling us on our crap while still being our loudest cheerleader) to fall out of the sky and into our lives. Sometimes it works this way, but usually it doesn’t. Like most good things in this life: you have to work for it.
Mastering Team Communication as Your Firm Grows: What Would Arlene Say?
by Arlene Moss
Lately, in conversations with clients, I’ve noticed a consistent theme cropping up. Many advisors who are 3-6 years into their businesses are just starting to add to their team. Growing your team, either by hiring part- or full-time W2 employees or bringing in contractors to help you service your clients, is always exciting. Among all of the roadblocks that come with expanding your team, one of the most surprising is organizing communication.
When you’re comfortable being a solopreneur, it can be tough making the transition to setting team expectations for communication. Navigating problems like how frequently to communicate with your new team, how to respect each other’s communication styles, setting the expected tone for internal and client-facing communication, and more can be overwhelming.
Communication often seems like something that should come naturally to a team, but sometimes that’s not the case. Having a proactive plan for communication can make your transition from solopreneur to team leader a bit more seamless.
Finding Long-Term Success as an Independent Financial Advisor: How XYPN Helps Advisors Beyond Launch
by Maddy Roche
If you’re at least a little bit familiar with XY Planning Network, then you know we provide resources for fee-for-service financial planners who deliver comprehensive financial advice to their Gen X and Gen Y clients—and it’s quite possible you think XYPN is designed exclusively for those advisors making the transition to new firm owner.
That’s not the case.
XYPN provides resources for firms long after the initial launch phase. We’ve worked to deepen our relationships with established advisors and to support financial planners well beyond their startup years.
Rather than give you a laundry list of the many ways we support established advisors, I thought my time would be better spent sharing the stories of two established advisors who joined XYPN within the past six months.
If you’re an established advisor wondering what XYPN has to offer, read on.