Over the past few weeks I have talked a great deal about changing your mindset and shifting from serving as practitioner to practice leader. In order to do that, you need to build a team around you of capable professionals and start to carve out specialized functions in your business. As I like to say, to take your practice where you want to go, you have to get the right people on the bus.
An advisor-centric practice often concentrates its efforts on building up support staff so the advisor can focus on the client relationship. Many of the staff and even the founder wear multiple hats in the early years of the practice. A business owner, however, needs to go beyond that model and build a “corporate” team that can serve vital functions that both support the daily operations of the practice and that pave the way for growth. This includes bringing in advisors who can take over the client relationship so the founder can shift to serving as the visionary and strategic leader of the practice. This team must represent a diverse group of leaders with varied skills and experience and serve a range of functions beyond that of the advisor. Often this includes an executive team and/or group of mid-level leaders whose primary roles are centered on strategic growth instead of the daily execution of client tasks.
The seats you carve out for your bus will vary depending on what type of practice you have and your goals. Generally, as you grow, those “seats” will become more specialized and targeted. Over time, dedicated personnel are brought in to serve a number of front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house functions including but not limited to operations/administration, marketing, finance, and specialists in insurance or other key areas. As this happens, the composition of your team will change dramatically, which will impact how you do things moving forward. But you can’t truly move forward until you define, develop, and fill those new roles.
You will probably have to look outside your firm to find the right talent to fill those new seats. This is where having strong relationships within your broker dealer and across the industry become critical. Many of these seats will be filled without you ever placing an ad or job listing. It’s nearly impossible to get a sense of what someone can really do by looking at a resume and many of the skills needed to fill those new seats aren’t always easy to narrow down to a few searchable terms. Leverage your network, be open minded, and look for people who can lead and execute. You want people who can bring ideas and make them happen, and who can work as a team to create and reach big goals. With the right team in place, any goal is achievable.