Goal setting is an important element in your success as a financial advisor. Having clear goals to work toward can give you the motivation you need to scale while helping you to develop a focused plan for doing so. Some of the most common financial advisor goals include growing your client base and increasing revenues. If you’re new to setting goals as an advisor, it helps to know where to start.
You can also explore the possibilities of expanding your reach with SmartAdvisor.
Why Setting Goals is Important
Creating realistic goals as an advisor can be instrumental in fueling growth. When you have a goal in mind, it becomes easier to focus your energy and efforts in a specific direction.
Setting goals as a financial advisor can help you to:
An advisor without goals is like a ship without a sail, drifting with no clear destination in sight. Setting a goal allows you to head for a specific destination with efficiency.
Goal-Setting Strategies for Financial Advisors
There are a couple of ways to approach goal setting as an advisor. The first is to consider the time frame involved; the second centers on how your goals are structured.
In terms of timing, there are three broad categories of goals:
Having a mix of different goals is a good thing, as it can boost motivation. When you’re able to get some quick wins by knocking out shorter-term goals, that can help with maintaining momentum to pursue bigger, long-term goals.
In terms of how to structure your goals, goal setting experts recommend making them S.M.A.R.T. The elements of a S.M.A.R.T. goal are as follows:
Making financial advisor goals that are specific, rather than vague, leaves no room for doubt about what you’re hoping to accomplish. At the same time, those goals need to be measurable in some way so that you’re able to track your progress.
Goals also need to be achievable and relevant to your situation. Otherwise, you may be working for something that’s out of reach or won’t have the degree of impact on your business that you’re seeking. Finally, goals need to be time-bound as deadlines encourage action and accountability.
How to Set Financial Advisor Goals — and Achieve Them
The important thing to remember about setting goals as a financial advisor is that they should be unique to you and your business. It’s tempting to look at what other advisors are doing and use their success as a model for goal setting. However, making comparisons can lead you to set goals that may not be realistic for your business. With that in mind, here are some tips for setting effective goals as a financial advisor.
Know Your Starting Point
Before making any goal, consider where you’re starting from. Asking some key questions can help you identify what areas you might want to address when setting goals.
For example, you might ask yourself:
The more detailed you are in answering, the easier it may be to shape your goals and make them S.M.A.R.T.
Create a Timeline
Once you know where you want to focus, you can begin defining your goals. But first, how many goals should a financial advisor set?
Setting too few goals means you don’t have as many targets to aim for. Setting too many goals can leave you overwhelmed. Prioritizing what you want to concentrate on in a logical way can help you keep moving forward with your goals.
For example, you could break your goals down:
Again, by setting multiple targets you can feed your sense of accomplishment without feeling bogged down with all that you’re trying to do. You may set goals that are one-time or recurring for each time period.
Prioritize and Define Your Goals
At this stage, you should be ready to create some concrete goals. If you have lots of things you want to achieve, prioritizing goals can help.
One way to do that is by considering which areas of your business you want to work on and choosing one to three as your main focus. For example, your top three priorities might include:
Within each category, you would consider what your overall objective is, then use that as a guide for setting individual goals.
Let’s use client acquisition as an example. You might set a goal of acquiring five new clients per month for the next 12 months. That is a specific goal that is specific, measurable, relevant and time-bound. Whether it’s achievable depends on how clearly you define each necessary step to reach that goal.
For example, your action plan might look something like this:
Just like your overall goal, these action steps are also specific, measurable and have a time component. The more you can fine-tune your goals, the better since you narrow down the types of activities you need to be engaging in to reach them.
Review Your Goals and Adjust
Your goals are not necessarily set in stone and it’s helpful to review them periodically to see how well you’re doing and where you might be able to improve. How often you do this is up to you, though it may be a good idea to schedule monthly check-ins for shorter-term goals and review longer-term goals quarterly, biannually or annually.
As you look at the progress you’ve made, ask yourself whether it aligns with where you expected to be at that point. If the answer is no, then you may need to reconsider whether the goal is realistic and achievable. If it is, then the next step is taking a closer look at what’s not working with regard to the way that you’re approaching it.
You may also consider having an accountability partner to help you keep track of your progress. That might be a colleague, your mentor or someone on your staff whom you can trust to review your goals progress and tell you honestly and without judgment where you could improve.
The Bottom Line
Setting goals as a financial advisor is an important part of business operations. The goals you set—and the way that you approach them—can help your business to thrive in a competitive landscape year after year.
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