The first time I realized I needed a different kind of help in my advisory business was when I had to fork out $4,000 from my own pocket as young partner. A trade didn’t get executed because my scribbled client meeting notes sat in my stack of to-dos while the market took off.
Many advisors are reticent to bring a successor into their client relationships because, as one advisor tells it, “It’s akin to bringing another person into bed with your spouse!” I get it; I do. Our client relationships are very special to us. For most of us, those relationships are why we love the advisory business.
Never mind the importance of a complete succession plan; here are four simple things you can do right now to experience more freedom:
1. Eliminate unscheduled, disruptive calls.
Are you still answering your own phone? Stop. Take control of your day. Hire someone else in your office to answer your phone — right now. Discuss how you want your calls treated, and empower that person to deal with calls that don’t need your personal attention.
2. Don’t be the middleman.
Are you meeting with clients alone? That makes you a middleman between your client’s needs and your client service team’s follow-up efforts. Let someone else take notes so you can be 100%-listening to build deeper relationships.
3. Hire smart.
Do you have an “A-Player" that can step in and help with your client load? If not, drop everything and create a Team Success Navigator for your next hire. First, articulate the mission for the role or why the role exists. Next, list the top five outcomes for the role, and the competencies required to deliver them. Finally, as yourself: what are the top five core values that drive how you run your business? Use the Navigator to measure candidates. This is just the start — buy the book, Who by Geoffrey Smart, and never suffer a bad hire again.
4. Get real rest.
When you take a day off, do you check your email and voicemail? If so, that means your off-days aren’t providing you with a full recharge. This could be about clients and “emergencies” you should not allow, or you haven’t assigned someone you trust to take care of things in your absence ... in which case, see #3.
Do you have team members that can stand in for you? What would help you take these steps?