I read a great article in the Entrepreneur magazine about Business Plans, and it was music to my ears. As a former female advisor, I was constantly asked to create a business plan for each year. I am NOT a detailed person. I work based on a vision, ideas, and ACTION. The thought of putting all the details in place on paper as to what I plan and expect to do over the next year, much less three to five years, is like torture. Even when considering getting a business loan, what held me back was that they wanted a business plan. What I read yesterday only confirmed my thoughts about this business planning process.
Now don’t get me wrong, for some, a detailed business plan can be helpful, giving you that direction and focus, but it felt like a cage penning me in. As a business owner, I must stay open to the opportunities that are presented to me. Granted, I know my strengths as a coach, and I have a basic business model, but that model has changed through the years, not always based on my doing but based on opportunities presented to me. Had I stayed true to a detailed business plan, I may have neglected taking a new direction that has opened new doors and more significant opportunities. This article only confirmed these thoughts and my approach.
As any of my clients will tell you, I have never asked them to create a business plan, but there are two components that I do expect from every client.
- The first is to create a vision; what they want their business to look like, and even this is very difficult for many financial advisors. The industry focuses so much on the smaller activities that many advisors lack that 10,000-foot perspective. Their creative ideas have been all but squelched, and that part of their brain has atrophied. This alone can be a considerable handicap.
- The second aspect is I ask them to breakdown their existing business. By dissecting their current business, I can better understand what is working and what is not. Even the advisor gains tremendous value in this process and becomes more aware and mindful of the makeup of their practice. Just clarifying and categorizing the A, B, and C clients often creates an awakening in the advisor that can dramatically impact productivity.
I think the advisors that have been affected the most by this boxed-in environment are the female advisors. Not only do they experience the limited, small thinking of the industry, but most of their female creativity and identity have also been squeezed out of them, causing them to ignore and negate the characteristics that make them so unique and powerful.
If I had my way before coaching an advisor, I would want to wave a magic wand and erase everything they had learned about building a successful practice. I would wash away all the industry training and protocol, opening their brain to new ideas, more significant opportunities, and fresh creativity. It is when we are open, receptive incorporating no limits and boundaries that true success occurs.