Slideshow 7 essential rules for building your business

  • May 28 2013, 3:10pm EDT

Time management

In an advisory business, perhaps your most valued asset (other than clients and your team) is your time. As your success and brand grows, more people want more of your time. You have to manage your time sparingly and leverage your team as much as is sensible. Delegate and relentlessly prioritize your time to only those activities most important to your firm. The truth is there will be less time as you grow and become more successful. Building good time management habits as early as possible in your business life cycle will pay major dividends down the road.

Make tough decisions sooner rather than later

It's in most of our human nature to dislike confrontation. It's not easy to tell people they are not doing a good job or that it’s time to move on. My experience is that, most of the time, you usually have good people in the wrong roles and, unfortunately, when that happens change needs to occur. Be relentless in upgrading your team whenever possible and never under hire. The best teams usually win, not just the ones with a few star players. Build and enhance your team at every chance.

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The faster you are growing, the more difficult it is to find time to keep everyone on the same page. Whatever form of communication works for you, do it! Install contact management systems (make sure people use them), mandate staff meetings that require people to prepare for, have a weekly written business update, ask people to cc partners on emails to keep them in loop, etc. The key to getting maximum leverage out of all your partners is to ensure they are current on company info and are having a voice and opinion at the table. Companies that communicate best, execute best.

Make it about brand

The more you can get clients to have a relationship with your brand, the better. It creates better relationships, gives leadership more leverage and ultimately increases the value of your firm. Further, the brand should not only speak to your clients but to also to your employees, business partners, and vendors. Do not compromise when it comes to your brand integrity, with yourself or anyone else connected to your firm.

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Pricing discipline

More people than not would say they have pricing discipline but most do not actually practice it. Think about your fee schedule, now be brutally honest and compare it with your actual client list. For most of us, we discount too much and then over-service the client. Simple re-pricing exercises can significantly increase return on assets and provide more resources for growth and client service going forward. Be clear with clients and prospects about what you do, its quality and value, and what you charge. Most people who discount aggressively either lack confidence in the quality of their work or need practice.

Execute more than plan

If given the choice between a stellar business plan and second rate execution vs. an average business plan and world class execution, we'd choose the latter. One of the most common denominators of successful advisers is that they focus on execution nonstop. They don't just set goals, they lay out specifics on how they will achieve them and then focus on those activities to ensure success is the only outcome. The best firms we see don't try to sell what they are going to do, they discuss what they have done. Big difference. Focus on the art of getting things done!

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Appreciate the client every day

The best firms are almost fanatical on talking about their clients. They don't talk about the grief that comes with difficult client requests but rather appreciate the fact that their client trusts them enough to ask them for the help. The firms that endure the longest and grow the fastest have a client central lens through which they see the world. At Dynasty, we get up every day and ask what we can do to build a better platform, tools, resources, etc. to allow our adviser clients to take better care of their clients. Everything that makes Dynasty possible sits in the offices of our clients. When you see the world that way your response time, service levels, employee effort levels, are all heightened — everything is done just a little better every day.