Getting started as a financial advisor requires a certain amount of planning to ensure that your business has everything it needs to succeed. Setting specific goals for your first year can give you some targets to aim for as you begin the process of marketing your business and acquiring new clients. Tracking your progress and performance against those goals can help you figure out what’s working — and what’s not — as you scale and grow.
You can also use SmartAdvisor to jumpstart your business growth and begin connecting with clients right away.
How to Set Goals as a Financial Advisor
Goal setting is highly personal, as the objectives you set for your business may be very different from another advisor’s. With that in mind, here are a few important rules of thumb to remember as you map out your goal strategy.
- Goals should be specific and actionable, with an objective that’s relevant to your business.
- Creating goals that are measurable makes it easier to track your progress.
- Each goal you create should have an expected completion date.
In terms of how many first-year financial advisor goals you should set, the number is up to you. Keep in mind, however, that setting too many goals may spread your time and energy too thin. If you’re trying to do too many things at once, then you may not make much progress on any of your goals.
Defining the key areas of your business that are your biggest priorities can be a good place to start. For example, in your first year of business, you might be focused on:
- Increasing your visibility through marketing
- Acquiring a certain number of clients or fine-tuning a niche
- Managing your finances and reaching a specific revenue threshold
- Creating systems that allow you to run your business more efficiently
- Developing your skillset and cultivating your expertise
- Building out your professional network
- Maintaining a good work-life balance
Once you’ve identified the things that are most important to you, you can begin shaping goals for each category.
5 First-Year Financial Advisor Goals to Set
While your goals should be personal and tailored to your own circumstances, there are some common themes you can build around. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Goal #1: Establish a Budget
Having a budget in place is essential as you need to understand what’s coming in and what’s going out. Budgeting during your first year as a financial advisor can be challenging, as you don’t have any benchmark numbers from the previous year to follow.
Rather than attempting to create an annual budget right away, you might start with a quarterly budget first. Once your first quarter ends, you can use those numbers to plan out your budget for the remainder of the year. Revisiting your budget quarterly can allow you to adjust as needed if your spending habits change throughout the year.
Goal #2: Develop a Marketing Strategy
There are different ways to approach marketing as a financial advisor. How you choose to do it can depend on who your ideal client is, and what kind of marketing efforts they’re most likely to respond to.
Some of the ways that you might market your business include:
- Social media
- A company website or blog
- Email newsletters
You might set specific goals for the number of followers you’d like to reach on individual social media platforms or the number of subscribers you’d like to add to your email list. If you haven’t outlined a clear branding strategy yet, you can also add that to your goal list.
Goal #3: Acquire New Clients
Client acquisition and retention are two of the most challenging aspects of running a financial advisor business. Unless you’re buying a financial advisor practice, you’ll likely spend a sizable part of your first year identifying and connecting with prospects.
Setting one large goal and several smaller supporting goals can help you approach client acquisition without feeling overwhelmed. For example, you might set a main goal of acquiring 50 new clients in your first year. That’s roughly four new clients per month or one client per week.
Now that you’ve broken it down this way, you can go a step further and create smaller supporting goals. For instance, you might set a goal of cold-calling 10 prospects per day or participating in two networking events per month.
You can also use online tools to further your goals. With SmartAsset SmartAdvisor, for instance, you can get leads for your local area in your email. You can decide which prospects you’d like to contact, based on the ones that best fit your ideal client profile.
Goal #4: Create Effective Systems
Putting systems in place can streamline the way that you run your business, potentially saving you both time and money. For example, it can help to have systems for:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Marketing and advertising
- New client onboarding
- Client management and retention
Automating and outsourcing can be a big help. The less attention you have to give to the minute day-to-day tasks of running your business, the more time you’ll have to devote to acquiring new clients and other activities that are designed to generate revenue.
Goal #5: Build Your Network
Networking can help to increase your brand visibility and allow you to make connections that you can leverage to grow your business. If you’re not actively building your network yet, that’s an important goal for your first year.
There are different ways to build out your network, online and off. Social media can be an easy way to expand your network digitally if you’re engaging in conversations and being active within that particular ecosystem. For example, something as simple as commenting on a social media post could lead to an opportunity to be a guest on a podcast, which could help you tap into a broader audience.
Networking locally also has value if you’re able to get your name out in your community. Attending local business events sponsored by the chamber of commerce or participating in charity events could provide a significant return on investment of your time if you’re able to build relationships with other financial professionals or meet with prospects face-to-face.
Setting first-year financial advisor goals can give you a blueprint to follow as you begin building your business. At the end of your first year, you can reflect on the progress you made and use that as a guide to set goals for your second year of business and beyond.
Tips for Managing Your Advisory Business
- Get a head start on creating a succession plan. Even if you’re a new financial advisor, it’s still important to think about how you’ll manage retirement when the time comes. If you want to create a succession plan and don’t know where to start, check out our introductory guide here. We walk you through the basic steps in setting up a business transition plan.
- Pre-screen for prospects that meet your client profile. Client acquisition can be time-consuming but using a service that can connect you directly with prospective clients can help free you up for other things. If you’re looking to grow your practice, our platform SmartAdvisor connects advisors directly with local prospects. You pay only for investors that fit your client profile.
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