18 Ways RIAs Can Get Unstuck & Grow

It’s time to sing a better song Planning and taking consistent action toward what you’ve planned often makes the difference between success and failure—growth and stagnation. But many people won’t plan, don’t plan, and create dozens of excuses instead. Right? You see this in your retail or institutional clients. I see it in in my advisor clients, too! Clients who get to the point where they’re ready to sit down and plan change the tune they sing. Something happens in their lives or to someone they love and they decide to kick excuses to the curb and develop a no-excuses mentality. They stop reliving the negative and move forward. They sing a new song of victory!   18 Notes RIA-CEOs Use To Sing a Better Song In a nutshell: plan, execute, measure, and adjust when necessary. Below are my “notes” for creating a better song.   1.--Speak the truth, especially about your personal and professional visions. 2.--Be ready for a new level of your destiny. 3.--Be open to new ideas as well as executing ideas differently. 4.--Change your mindset from being an advisor with a practice to being a CEO running a business. 5.--Get rid of the excuses that are holding you back by finding and trying on A, B and C solutions. 6.--Give yourself quality time to learn, read and have fun. 7.--Keep an Activity Audit for 3 months (list of each task/projects of where your time is spent). 8.--Assess your firm, target market, and pricing.

2021-03-03T21:40:55-05:00March 7th, 2021|Leadership|0 Comments

17 Business Management Areas Where Financial Advisors Get Stuck

During your journey as a business owner, there will be business operations and circumstances that are tougher to navigate than others.  I've listed 17 areas in which independent advisors commonly get stuck. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and as such you'll find areas that earn you a Hurrah! and areas that need your attention. Print the list and place a checkmark near 3 important areas to start working on now. If you find that you have more than 3 areas that need help, know that you’re not alone! These situations can be made more manageable with laser-focused consultative coaching. Living a full-filling life AND running a viable business at the same time Leading and retaining a growing team and client services Managing your time so that you don’t end up burnt out Deciding when to delegate the operations and/or management of your business Turning strangers into profitable and happy clients Getting referrals from ideal clients to other ideal clients Determining which clients to work with and which to send elsewhere Deciding when it’s time to retire or partially retire (succession planning) Learning when to delegate tasks and when to dump them Figuring out the best ways to sell, market, and network Determining which social networking sites to use, for how long, and for what reasons How to become a better leader Developing and/or introducing new products and services for your clients Deciding what technology to use and when to buy it Figuring out when to

2021-03-03T21:37:51-05:00March 1st, 2021|Leadership|0 Comments

Does The Government Owe You (Or Your Clients) Money?

You may have unclaimed money from a state or the federal government due you.  So may your family members, relatives and/or clients True! It never ceases to amaze me which state or government might owe me my own money!  The amazing part is that 95% of the time that I've found this money, I'm still living at the same address as stated on the unclaimed property file. Go figure. So, if you haven't checked your own name, it's time. Personally, I usually do it myself, yearly, much closer to the New Year than now, but, you know, Covid has had a way to keep us off our mark.  start the year off checking for your "found money". Even if you’ve lived at the same address for “a zillion years”, check the “missing money” websites for any state you've ever lived in. Most of the money I've found is from insurance companies, health companies, electric companies and department stores – I’m perplexed as to why!  With one exception, I still lived at the exact address they listed on in their database. Every year, I also search on behalf of my relatives, friends, and clients.  Last year, I sent notices to 6 of them letting them know that NYS was holding their money which totals nearly $600. So far, no one has found more than a $300 at a time but that's found money that can go to self-care, debt reduction or even, yes, investments!  Every dollar does count!

2021-02-01T02:53:03-05:00January 31st, 2021|Reduce Expenses|0 Comments

Are You Wearing Too Many Business Hats?

This article first appeared on RIA Biz Did you become an independent financial advisor to manage the nitty-gritty of your entire practice? Or was your real mission to serve clients "the right way" and safeguard their wealth? Way too often, the "busy-ness" of business gets in the way of an advisory firm owner's best intentions of growing a practice. The secret is to catch yourself at the point where you begin to wear too many hats. If you don't, client services, your bottom line, and your personal life are sure to suffer. An Honest Look If a business owner isn't careful, your business model may resemble a job with very long hours and a paycheck rather than a business. When this happens you'll end up working "in" your business, instead of "on" your business as a boss. Often advisor-owners will be heard saying, "I'm overwhelmed, working 60+ hours a week, trying to service my current clients the right way, and I don't have time to do much else -- let alone bring on more clients." You'll never hear them say, "I'm not coming in today, I decided to take the day off!" or "I'm going on vacation for the month. My team can handle it!" This is because when they take any time off, their firm makes no money. Nada, not a penny. If you've been running a solo practice for a while or are responsible for your own book of business, chances are that your practice

2021-01-27T10:48:11-05:00January 27th, 2021|2. Managing Your Financial Firm|0 Comments

New Tax Form For Business Owners (and others)

Just an IRS alert: For many years, we used 1099-Misc to report payment to nonemployee compensation (money we paid another individual or company) most often for services they provided above $600. That's changed this year and I am providing some resources to you to learn more.   Unfortunatly, the IRS has not changed the process by which we complete NEC or the MISC form.  So remember: you need an original copy of a form, available free to order at IRS website or buy in your local Office Supply store, etc.  Do not find a form and then print it from an online source. Beginning with Tax Year 2020, you must use Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, to report payments of nonemployee compensation (NEC) previously reported in box 7 on Form 1099-MISC. Do not order Form 1099-MISC for reporting NEC. The separate instructions for filers/issuers for Form 1099-NEC are available in the 2020 Instructions for Forms 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC. To learn more about 1099 NEC and the change To order free 1099 NEC forms and instructions NOTE:  I am not a Tax Advisor. I am providing this information FYI.   Please consult your CPA, Accountant, EA, or tax advisor before using any of the information provided above. Upwards and onwards, Coach Maria    

2021-01-06T22:15:34-05:00January 6th, 2021|2. Managing Your Financial Firm|0 Comments

Entrepreneur Magazine: Track your “lessons learned”

Track “lessons learned.” As you grow your business, some ideas will work–and some will fail miserably. Many who came before us failed before they found success.  RH Macy failed at 7 stores before he founded Macy’s. Einstein was expelled from school.  Edison had more than 1000 failures. What they had in common, at a minimum,  is that they learned from their mistakes and were persistent. Create a Lessons Learned Sheet to record the institutional knowledge you collect on projects, new forms, new processes, etc.  Did a marketing idea tank?  A meeting with a prospect go astray?  Record the situation in detail on paper or in a database–as well as your analysis of why it didn’t work–and share the information with team to get their feedback, too. Now if you want to stop learning most of your lessons AFTER a failure or costly mistakes, create Lessons Learned reports after successes, too.  This way, you’ll have a record of what you did that worked and next time you do the same thing, you’ll take what you did to the next level. Nothing worse to stymie success than being complacent too long! Before you create your business operations and marketing plan for the next year, take out some blank Lessons Learned reports and look at your wins and failures of the past year.  Be in peace with what happened — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and move into this year with a clearer head and heart.  

2020-06-09T15:36:50-04:00June 9th, 2020|Leadership|0 Comments

Growing vs. Scaling an Advisory Business

When a firm is in startup mode, the owner often has a vision on what they want that business to looks like in the future.  It doesn't mean that that vision won't change as time goes on.  But there is a vision short and long-term in their heads.  Those visions pushes us forwards, even on very challenging days, weeks and months. An advisor might prefer to be stay a solo business, become a partnership, grow to a small business, or scale to a much larger visible firm -- or somewhere in between.     Startups The main goal of a start up is to take what they know, serve as many clients as possible, and to be profitable.   Growth Growth is about increasing resources at the same time you’re adding revenue.  You're gaining clients and increasing revenue.  You grow your firm (profit) and the costs increase because you’re growing your team (people), processes and technology. Profit increases slowly because you're putting money back into the company to pay for the increased resources. Example: As a service-based business with an increasing flow of new clients, will hire more people/vendors, and create systems to upgrade customer service and make training new employees easier. They'll bring on more technology to service clients and their operation.   Scaling Scaling is about adding revenue over time while adding or changing few resources.  You increase your margin at a rapid rate over a short period of time by adding clients. You’re able

How To Be More Productive When Working From Home

    Even under stress we can do much good at this time in our history (April 2020). That's why the perfect question to ask yourself, as often as possible, is “what is the best use of my time right now?” I wasn't asking myself that question enough since I started working fewer hours, and so I found myself getting down in the dumps. To that end, I wrote this article as a reminder for myself of what I can be doing, and hopefully the list in this article will help you, too. Maybe you're like me and have been working from home for a long time. Maybe working from home is new to you. Either way, when you don't have the freedom of going out and doing what you want, because you want to be safe and keep others safe, too, it's easy to not be productive. When you can't connect physically with people (I'm a big hand shaker), life seems weird. When I just can't get in the car and drive to visit relatives or drive just for the heck of it, life seems more than hard. But there is plenty we all can do. Not just to keep busy, but to be productive and make the best use of the time we have now. Below are some suggestions of things we can do to help our business: Create an Executive Schedule. It’s a schedule of how you’ll be spending your day. I’m sure you’ve seen

2020-04-03T21:21:52-04:00March 28th, 2020|Leadership|0 Comments

How To Create An Advisory Firm Business Plan When It’s The Last Thing You Want To Do

Creating your first business plan, whether you're new to business or an established advisor starts with introspection and continues with your answers to the 24 business development questions below. I've provided you with questions that will get the process going. If you're in need of funding, answer these questions BEFORE you sit down with business plan software that will walk you through a much longer but necessary process. If instead you need a plan to help you run and scale your business, start by answering the questions below.  Then get on the wait list for my next Create Your Business Growth Plan Masterclass wait-list  to learn how to put everything together and monitor what you've created.  You'll be notified of the next dates.   But, if instead you do nothing else than answer these questions, you'll be more ahead of the game than you have been in the past and are now.  Even if you're successful, you'll be that much more successful having considered where you're headed. For a list of best business practice systems click here 1. What are your top 5 lifetime personal goals? 2. What parts of what you're doing do you enjoy the most? 3. What parts of what you're doing do you hate doing? 4. What parts of what you're doing do you enjoy but doing them are not a good use of your time? 5. Who do you have to hire in order to get #3 and #4 above done? 6. Who do you

2020-01-23T01:41:12-05:00January 22nd, 2020|2. Managing Your Financial Firm|0 Comments

A Must Have “Business Best Practice” For Advisors*

It's a must-have because many other  "business best practices" include questions this exercise answers, too!  The tool is called The F.A.B. Exercise.  F.A.B stands for features, advantages, and benefits. I started using the process I teach you below to help me rename my business. Then as clients needed to name or rename their business or a service they offer, they found it to be very helpful, too Then we started using the same process to name a service, product, ebook, template, etc.  And realized that this is one of my "duplicatable systems".   Now while a system is created to be duplicated, a "duplicatable system" is a system that is used for a specific function and then is found to have many other uses, too. The truth is that as a business owner, you'll need the answers to The F.A.B. Exercise to create parts of your business plan, niche, ideal client profile, value proposition, Business Snapshot (elevator speech), and so much more. Gotta love "duplicatable" system!     How To Create The F.A.B. Exercise Open MS Excel. Using one worksheet. Place each of these words in line 1 and make them "titles": Features:  Features of your services/products (fee based services, commissions, and what you currently offer free) Advantages: Advantages of your services/products above your competition. Yes, everyone has competition, find your top 3 competitors for this exercise. Benefits:  Benefits of your services/products to your ideal client. (Hints, they often tell you when you ask them "why are you hiring

2020-01-14T00:41:50-05:00January 13th, 2020|2. Managing Your Financial Firm|0 Comments
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