A roadmap and resources to support your shift
For entrepreneurial financial advisors, achieving the $1M revenue mark is undoubtedly a significant accomplishment. It’s a testament to your expertise, tenacity, and the value you provide. But, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re not satisfied with just maintaining the status quo. You have bigger ambitions: to achieve ten times as much — the coveted $10M mark.
To make this quantum leap, continuation of past strategies won’t suffice. You must evolve from being a financial advisor serving clients into a visionary business leader — a CEO who spearheads growth by leveraging team, technology, and scalable strategies.
Table of Contents
- A roadmap and resources to support your shift
- The importance of leadership
- Embrace the leader identity
- Adopt your ‘next’ mindset
- Set clear goals
- Leverage your resources
- Invest in your growth
- Get ready for exponential growth
The importance of leadership
The concept of working “on” your business” is outlined famously in the classic entrepreneur’s guidebook The E-myth Revisited. Author Michel Gerber explains the crucial transition for growth and success of businesses is the founder’s ability to shift from being solely a technician working in the business to becoming a leader who works on the business.(1)
Another way to think about the shift is outlined in The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, as they explain moving from “E” to “P” or from Entrepreneurial to Purposeful. Working from your natural abilities, The Entrepreneurial Approach inevitably runs into a “ceiling of achievement,” at which you’ve accomplished the best you know how to do. Rather, they argue, to achieve the best possible, you need to shift to The Purposeful Approach. This means stepping into the discomfort of the unknown and seeking better models and systems to unlock your potential and break through that ceiling.(2)
Embrace the leader identity
To get to where you are today you’ve had to lead your daily activities and likely those of a few team members. Now it’s time to level up and develop your leadership abilities; to fully step into your leadership identity. Here’s a roadmap to help you on your journey, along with resources to support you:
Adopt your ‘next’ mindset
If you’re a growth-minded individual you are always evolving how you approach your life. Rather than taking on a “new” mindset, your “next” mindset is simply an evolution from where you already are. Acknowledge the importance of this transition to becoming a true leader of your business. How do you need to view yourself to achieve what you want? What shifts can you make in your daily routine to keep you on track?
Grant full permission
Realize that your long-term business growth and vision cannot materialize unless you allocate time to strategize and plan. Give yourself full permission to focus on the business (your employees and your clients will thank you!).
Block your time for success
Georgetown University professor and author Cal Newport, an expert on deep thinking, recommends blocking multiple hours of uninterrupted time in your calendar each week to allow space for strategic planning, innovation, thought leadership/content creation and solving problems. This time for deep work (as explained in his book of the same title) gives your brain to work toward its full ability.(3)
Set clear goals
Establish where you want your business to be in the next 3-5 years. Getting to $10M doesn’t happen overnight, so set targets for 1, 3 and 5 years. Break down your targets for the quarter ahead. Consider implementing a system such as Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (outlined in his book Traction) to help you stay on track.(4)
Get a handle on your (actual) numbers
Gross revenue, net profit margin, cashflow projections…these are all core business metrics that matter. You may also track total AUM, number of clients, net new assets, and other industry-specific numbers. You’ll want to know a few key marketing metrics which may include: the number of new clients added per year, retention and referral rates, profit per client, and new client acquisition costs to name a few.
Another exercise that can be enlightening before forging ahead with massive growth is to review your existing roster of clients:
- What is the average revenue from your top 5 clients?
- What about the bottom 5?
- What about the last 5 clients you signed on?
Are you headed in the direction you want? How does your service level (use of resources) align with revenue? Are there changes you need to make?
Align your marketing and sales with your goals
A clear business development plan is an essential element in the achievement of your revenue goal. After reviewing the reality of your existing client base, you make choose to alter the target audience you wish to pursue and/or make adjustments to your minimums, fees, or the percentage of revenue you’re willing to invest into marketing.
Be sure to analyze your complete relationship marketing system, from awareness through to loyalty initiatives:
- How will you align your resources to attract new clients?
- Does your growth plan include acquisition of another firm, or do you prefer to grow organically?
- What efforts will you launch to prompt engagement from leads?
- How can you improve your consultations to boost conversion?
- Do you have a defined prospect follow-up system to support your team?
- How will you demonstrate the value you bring at the start of the client experience?
- What will you do to deepen the engagement of your existing clients?
Leverage your resources
You didn’t get where you are today going it alone (even if you have been solo…people and technology have supported you along the way, at least a little). You’re going to need to shift this gear into overdrive to be able to grow massively. Get ready for it! While you probably won’t have the revenue right away to fill in all of the holes you want to, be proactive in your adaptation of technology and the hiring of team members. Aim to invest one or two steps ahead of your need at any given time.
Empower Your Team
Who on your team can handle the day-to-day tasks you need to offload? Trust your team with responsibilities. You’ve already created success, and the right team will be eager to contribute and grow. Give them the opportunity. Equip them with the necessary tools, training, and authority to make decisions.
Do you have other problems to solve or work to delegate? Rather than asking, “How do I do this?” Take the advice of Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy who suggest you ask “Who can do this?” in their 2020 book Who Not How.(5)
Use technology the ‘right’ way
While you likely have a tech stack that helps you deliver value to your clients in the form of financial plans,tax projections, rebalancing, other deliverables in our industry, you will also want to have the right solutions in place to allow technology to serve the operations of your business.
Applying the tenets outlined in author and entrepreneur Nick Sonnenberg’s book Come up for Air is one approach to get your operational efficiency tuned up for scaling. Through his CPR® Business Efficiency Framework, he explains when and how to use common technology tools such as Asana, Slack and Process.st within your firm. The goal: to optimize Communication both externally and internally, Planning (so work gets done), and Resources to document and share knowledge.(6)
Invest in your growth
Push yourself in your learning
Given your success so far, you probably don’t need a reminder to continue to learn. Rather, evaluate where you’re directing your professional and personal development efforts. Invest in learning the models, business strategies, and leadership skills that will help you bust through your ceiling of current capability. While it can be uncomfortable to embark on new areas of learning, you’ll begin to live more of the leader’s identity every step of the way!
Surround yourself with other business leaders and advisors experiencing similar (or the next stage of) growth. Sharing insights, challenges, and solutions with peers can provide fresh perspectives on your business and help combat the loneliness that can arise in the CEO role.
Seek mentorship or coaching
Having a mentor or coach can provide you with an external perspective on your business. They can guide you, challenge you, and offer invaluable insights from their experience working with others in your situation. You’ll also gain the accountability and support you’ll want to stay the course.
Get ready for exponential growth
Scaling revenue to $10M is ambitious, challenging and…achievable. The journey demands a metamorphosis from a hands-on financial advisor to a strategic CEO. It’s about laying down the roadmap, then galvanizing your resources—people, technology, or processes—to journey towards that audacious goal.
Remember, the shift from being reactive to proactive, from working in the business to working on the business, from ‘winging it’ to being purposeful and planful is the cornerstone of this transformative journey.
Do you want a guide on this journey? With a blend of business, marketing, and sales coaching, I help you set and follow a growth plan that serves you. Schedule a free consultation today.
- Gerber, Michael E., The EMyth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it. New York, NY: Harper Business, 1995.
- Keller, Gary, and Jay Papasan, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Bard Press, 2013, pages 179-183.
- Newport, Cal, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2016.
- Wickman, Gino, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business. Dallas, Texas: BenBella, 2011.
- Sullivan, Dan, and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc., 2020.
- Sonnenberg, Nick, Come Up For Air: How Team Can Use Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work. New York, NY: Harper Collins Leadership, 2023.
Kristin is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Managing her own firm, she grew it from zero to six figures in less than three years, completely from scratch. In 2014 Kristin transitioned full time into training and coaching, where she now helps independent financial advisors to grow their firms.