Case Study: Mission Financial
Word of mouth advertising. It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools there is. Because when someone you know tells you a service is worth using, you’re more apt to trust them. Otherwise, you may find yourself relying on Google results for important business decisions.
In this edition of our continuing series, we spoke with Mission Financial CEO Janssen Longenecker about working with Ironstone – and why he would recommend Ironstone to others.
THE CHALLENGE: Building a Dream Team
Before opening Mission Financial, I was a financial advisor at a wirehouse, where I had an assistant, but had never built a team on my own. Once I came over to the independent world, I began thinking more strategically. About nine months after starting my practice, I attended my first national conference for Raymond James in April 2016.
Andrea was a speaker at that meeting. I specifically signed up for her session because I was getting ready to hire more people. When her presentation ended, we spoke briefly, and I later called her for an initial discussion. That was it. I knew that Andrea offered the expertise I needed. I learned that if I wanted to find the best employees for my firm, hiring was going to be a much more in-depth process than I had anticipated.
Andrea taught me how to achieve the goal of what I wanted in my team. She showed me how to write job descriptions. She gave me specific examples that allowed me to customize each role with the skills I wanted. Once someone points me in the right direction, I love blazing my own trail. So just give me the tools to get started, and I’ll start blazing! Which is exactly what Andrea did for me.
THE SOLUTION: Talent Vetting & a Vision for the Future
Andrea explained that hiring good people needs to be a five-step process. I thought, “This is going to take a long time.” In fact, I remember calling her in the middle of interviewing candidates for an office manager position. I said, “Hey, some pretty decent prospects are dropping out after the third step because they’re getting frustrated. They’re like, ‘Why do you need to see me again? If you don’t know who I am by now…’ And Andrea said, “Janssen, that’s the idea behind the five steps. If someone’s so impatient that they can’t wait for this wonderful, fantastic, awesome opportunity, then they won’t be right for you.”
Another invaluable strength Andrea contributed: Helping me build a human resources infrastructure to fulfill my vision for the practice. She advised me on writing offer letters and contracts, and how to design incentives for different positions to ensure that quality employees stay on. Then, once you have those top team members, she helped me create professional accountability and guardrails. You can’t just hire anyone. You need to hire the best people you can find and give them the opportunity to grow.
Andrea encouraged us to take steps to secure long-term success by writing down our standard operating procedures and putting them in the Raymond James box, to codify processes. She also weighed in with strategic advice on contracts, and writing our employee handbook. I’ve got to say, that was “nails” for me. That was big!
THE RESULTS: Unlimited Growth Potential
In a nutshell, Andrea helped me construct a formalized structure and foundation to grow Mission Financial by attracting and retaining first-rate talent.
When it comes to strategic planning, the best advisors are entrepreneurial rainmakers, but they need to share their ideas with their team. Sure, a rainmaker can inspire staffers with enthusiasm and charisma. That’s great. But the team wants structure and systems, which are things Andrea helped me to develop. Same with operational effectiveness: She helped me organize our SOP so that any team member can go into the box and say, “I want to review our new client onboarding process,” and then click, click, boom. There it is!
Andrea delivers more than advice. She delivers value. You may think you’re paying for her time, knowledge or wisdom – and you are. But I didn’t just choose Andrea for those benefits alone. I chose her because I respect her immensely, and the feeling is mutual. We can speak on the same level, swap stories from our leadership experiences, learn from each other. There are ideas I’m able to share with Andrea that she’s able to share with other advisors. That “cross pollination” of intelligence is what I like best at this stage in my career.
Plus, she’s witty. She’s driven. She carries herself with confidence, speaks with confidence. She has vast applied knowledge and expertise. So in terms of a business relationship, it’s really everything I could ask for. She’s great! I’m so thankful that I was able to catch her session at my first national conference. I can see connecting with Andrea for as long as my firm exists.