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10 Essential Components for a Successful Financial Advisor Business Plan

  • By Andrea Schlapia
  • |
  • January 19, 2016

10 Essential Components for a Successful Financial Advisor Business Plan

The main objective of strategic planning for your firm is to create an uncomplicated business plan that clearly defines the direction of your practice. Your business plan embodies your set of goals and how you will attain them.

The Financial Planning Association Research and Practice Institute conducted a study for a comprehensive assessment of current and future trends for financial advisors on managing and growing an advisory business. The research concluded that 50% of financial advisors do not have a written business plan in place.

The goal of your business plan is to create a roadmap for the success of your firm.

Your business plan will help you:

  • Evaluate your firm and position relative to your competition
  • Provide a laser-like focus to your marketing efforts
  • Support your infrastructure for your firm’s needs
  • Diagram a route for your success
10 Essential Components for a Successful Business Plan
Mission and Vision Statement
  • Include the mission, vision, and core values you have established for your firm. Each of these statements are important components in the strategic planning process. Your mission statement should be focused on the present and describe the purpose of your firm. Your vision statement is focused on the future of your firm and should paint a picture of where you would like your firm to be in the long term. Core values, or a values statement, should reflect on behaviors that guide the actions of your team as they execute plans to achieve your mission and vision. 
Executive Summary
  • Your executive summary is a summation of the details of your business plan. Include your unique value proposition, your service offering, your target market, ideal client profile, client acquisition and retention strategy, and your competitive advantage.
Firm Overview/Operations
  • This snapshot of your practice includes organizational structure, your essential purpose, and other formalities such as founding date, legal licensing, and the location of your firm. Describe the specific systems and processes your firm follows to deliver service to your clients and prospects.
Situation and Competitive Analysis/SWOT
  • Interpret the state of the environment and describe the operating and financial condition of your firm along with your competitive position. Utilize a SWOT analysis to define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in direct relation to those of your competitors. Explain where you want to be in relation to your competition, how you plan to reach that goal, and how your processes outweigh your competition. Hone in on the specifics of what sets your firm apart from the competition.
Market Analysis and Summary
  • Describe your ideal client, target market, and the niche markets you place your focus. Stay abreast of new market strategies and understand the needs of your community. Research current trends and growth potential in your demographic area to explain how you will improve your position in the market. Include statistical information that supports your current position in the market share. Attach a copy of your marketing plan referencing your marketing objectives.
Service Offering
  • Identify the specific needs of your market, describe the services you offer, and the client experience you provide. Include the process you utilize to develop awareness of your services to clients and prospective clients. Detail your compensation structure for each service.
Critical Issues to Success
  • Identify three or four goals you will focus on for optimal success. Develop and define a strategic plan of how you will obtain each objective.
Team Development
  • Too often we downplay the importance of investing in human capital. Your team is the most important component to the success of your firm. Firms that understand the value of professional development are better positioned than others to adapt to the ever changing demands in the financial industry. Incorporate a strategic process for professional development and link it to the likelihood of success or failure in achieving overall firm objectives and goals. Define your specific plans for employee development.
Financial Analysis
  • Your financial analysis serves as an assessment of the viability, stability, and profitability of your firm. Detail the current and future financial assessment of your practice.
Succession Plan
  • Your succession plan is more than a blueprint for retirement. It is a plan for long-term sustainability of your firm; a vital strategic process that will nurture and develop rising leaders in order to increase transferability and continue the legacy of your practice. Create a written succession plan, attach it to your business plan, and communicate it to clients and team members.

Once you’ve developed your business plan, don’t file it away until the end of the year. Use it as a GPS guidance system for running your practice. Update it often, real-time changes are ideal, quarterly at a minimum. Communicate your business plan to your team to effectively bring it to life and track milestones to enhance your overall business focus.

Ironstone’s vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

The foundation of our Performance Coaching and Consulting Programs are based on Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, which is essential to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Our ultimate goal is to help you avoid trial and error; shifting your mindset to launch your process of intentional change. [LEARN MORE]

To work with Ironstone or our affiliates, contact us at 1.800.917.8020, email us, complete our “contact us” form, or join the Ironstone – Financial Industry Professionals Practice Management Group on LinkedIn to start the collaboration.

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Author Bio

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life. Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.