Yet the reality is that crafting a business plan is about more than just setting some business goals to pursue.
Like financial planning, the of thinking through the plan is still valuable, regardless of whether the final document at the end gets put to use.
As the famous military saying goes, “no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy”, because the outcomes of battle contact itself change the context, and it’s almost impossible to predict what exactly will come next.
Nonetheless, crafting a battle plan in advance is a standard for military leadership.
Given that the overwhelming majority of financial advisors essentially operate as solo practitioners or small partnerships, this perhaps isn’t entirely surprising – when you can keep track of the entire business in your head in the first place, is there really much value to going through a formal process of crafting a financial advisor business plan?
Having been a part of the creation and growth of numerous businesses, I have to admit that my answer to “does a[n individual] financial advisor really need a business plan? But not because you’re just trying to figure out what the basics of your business will be, which you may well have “figured out” in your head (or as the business grows, perhaps figured out in conversations with your partner).In today’s competitive world, it’s not enough to just launch a firm, hang your (virtual) shingle, and wait for people to walk in off the street or call your office.You need to have a plan about how you will get out there to get started! Once you’ve set a goal for who you want to serve, what you want to do for them, and how you will reach them, it’s time to figure out how to measure whether it’s working.Ultimately, these adjustments will help to formulate the ongoing client service calendar you might craft to articulate what you’ll do with clients (especially if you plan to work with them on an ongoing basis), and the exact business model of how you’ll get paid (Insurance commissions? What organizations are they involved with, where you might also volunteer and get involved?If you’re going to utilize an inbound marketing digital strategy as an advisor, what are the topics you can write about that would draw interest and organic search traffic, and what giveaway will you provide in order to get them to sign up for your mailing list so you can continue to drip market to them?So who, for them – in other words, what services will you deliver. ).3) How will you for them, it’s time to figure out how you will reach them – in other words, what will be your process for finding prospective clients you might be able to work with?The reason it’s necessary to first figure out who you will serve, is that the nature of your target niche clientele may well dictate what kind of services you’re going to provide them; in fact, part of the process of identifying and refining your niche in the first place should be to interview a number of people in your niche, and really find out what they want and need that’s important to them (not just the standard ‘comprehensive financial plan’ that too many advisors deliver in the same undifferentiated manner). If you’re targeting a particular niche, who are the centers of influence you want to build relationships with?Because even if the plan will change as it’s being executed, having a clearly articulated objective allows everyone, even (and especially) in the heat of battle, to keep progressing towards a common agreed-upon goal.In other words, the objective stated in the battle plan provides a common point of focus for everyone to move towards, even as the (battle) landscape shifts around them.But if you want to get paid become a bona fide specialist (which also provides crucial differentiation from other advisors the potential client might choose to work with instead).In other words, you need to choose what type of niche clientele you’re going to target to differentiate yourself.