Stop Acting Like You Can Do Everything
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
Hire before you need help. You’ll win no awards for all the extra work you’re doing.
You are the CEO of your own company. CEOs can’t be all the things.
An issue I frequently encounter with my entrepreneurial clients is that they are conditioned to do everything. You might be wearing all the hats in your firm: operations, compliance, marketing and client services. You’re spending too much time on $25 tasks that are preventing you from focusing your energy on $250 and $2,500 tasks. You’re extremely busy and can’t get everything done. Even your higher revenue-generating tasks are not getting done on time!
To move your firm forward, hire talent. Some advisors may disagree and think they can handle it all. Working in and on your advisory firm takes effort and a focus on what’s most important. Advisors who are too slow to hire experience what I call "work creep."
Work creep happens when an inclination to do it all takes center stage. There’s a point where too much work prevents you from realizing strategic opportunities in your business. It also steers you away from important factors like maintaining family relationships and work-life balance.
Don’t let that be you.
Now that you realize you need help, where you do go from here?
Making your first hire is exciting yet stressful. This process is easier to manage when you have a plan. Thinking that you can’t afford to hire stunts your growth. If you ran the numbers, you could afford that help too.
Consider how a new hire can help activate your business growth plan. I’m sure that sounds more exciting than continuing to spend hours on tasks you don’t want to do anymore?! Growing advisory firms that are feeling the workload pinch can use these tips to best hire new talent.
Why hiring is important
The ability to hire takes you out of the “I need to do everything seat” and replaces you with someone else. Hire based on current needs in your advisory firm, then expand to a practice management wish list. What do I mean by this? Your wish list may cover five key areas of your firm:
- Business planning and strategy
- Business development
- Optimizing operations
- Using technology and tools
- Leveraging human capital
Initially, you may only need help with administrative tasks (scheduling meetings and email support). The expanded areas of your advisory firm that you may need help with include hiring a marketing and social media consultant or a client support professional. Those functions cover other areas of the wish list. After you’ve taken care of the immediate needs, it is easier to move into other areas of your business.
Evaluate your firm operations
Every area of your business requires attention, from a front-office/client-facing to a back-office perspective. Are your operations chaotic? Can your current set up handle hiring a new team member? Do you think throwing people at a non-people issue is going to solve your operational issues?
Inviting talent into an already operationally tense environment is an invitation for that talent to walk away. The great resignation taught us this. The truth will show up quickly. Take an audit of your bottlenecks and deal with those in realistic timeframes. Your bottlenecks will give visibility to whom you should bring on board to help.
Be clear on what you need to hire for
Capacity issues. Tasks you no longer want to do and other business dilemmas can block your good judgement. Knowing what you need to hire for will help you prioritize your search efforts. Advisors who’ve had the greatest success are those who paused long enough to take an inventory of their needs. They intentionally steered away from in the heat-of-the-moment knee-jerk reactions to perceived need.
If financial planning software data entry and initial financial plan drafts no longer create the “warm and fuzzies” in your world, then delegate this. Both require a specific skill set. Making a rash decision and hiring a virtual assistant to manage those tasks will cause stress. You’ll quickly realize this wasn’t the best choice. It will end up costing you more money and time for a do-over in finding the right person.
If the need in your office is more for pre- and post-client meeting support (transcribing notes, creating tasks), blog support (editing, research, formatting) and client onboarding, then those are great tasks for an assistant. Let the tasks that need to be done dictate who to hire. Now is not the time to set unrealistic expectations. Be clear on what you need done and what the role entails. All of these will help you attract and keep the right talent.
Revisit your firm culture
Your business culture is centered on your core values. Areas such as ethical behavior, integrity/honesty and accountability top the list for many advisors. You can’t train someone in core values. Either they have it or they don’t. Look for team members who place emphasis on the values that you find attractive. You want to have a balance of skills and core values for the role. Your team is an extension of you and your firm. When you’re not there, your team will be your representative. Ask yourself how your new team member will support you and the clients you serve.
Set your new hire up for success
Similar to the work that goes into serving your advisory clients, your newest team member will need a roadmap: understanding the framework of how you manage your operations, what they’ll be responsible for, areas you’d like assistance with and other business needs.
Your first hire can be a contractor, but it may serve your firm better (long term) to hire full time W2 employees. Whether you’ve been in business for three months for three years, making your first hire (or next hire) is reflective of the work you’re doing as a firm owner. Creating a logical path to first analyze your business needs will help you determine the right time and right person to hire.
Cameo’s “Cameo Appearance”
Cameo Roberson is a business coach and operations strategist who helps financial planning and RIA firms create systems to leverage people and process to scale revenue faster. Prior to launching her own firm, she spent 20+ years in the operational trenches of fee-only/fee-based firms.