As the included sample template shows, there are six key areas to define for the business: who will it serve, what will you do for them, how will you reach them, how will you know if it’s working, where will focus your time, and what must you do to strengthen (or build) the foundation to make it possible?
Ideally, this should be accompanied by a second page to the business plan, which includes a budget or financial projection of the key revenue and expense areas of the business, to affirm that it a financially viable plan (and what the financial goals really are! And in fact, because one of the virtues of a financial advisor business plan is the accountability it can create, advisors should not only craft the plan, but it – with coaches and colleagues, and even with prospective or current clients.
Ultimately, these adjustments will help to formulate the ongoing client service calendar you might craft to articulate what you’ll do with clients (especially if you plan to work with them on an ongoing basis), and the exact business model of how you’ll get paid (Insurance commissions? What organizations are they involved with, where you might also volunteer and get involved?
If you’re going to utilize an inbound marketing digital strategy as an advisor, what are the topics you can write about that would draw interest and organic search traffic, and what giveaway will you provide in order to get them to sign up for your mailing list so you can continue to drip market to them?
In a world where most advisory firms are relatively small businesses, having a formal business plan is a remarkably rare occurrence.
For most advisors, they can “keep track” of the business in their head, making the process of creating a formal business plan on paper to seem unnecessary.In other words, the purpose for a financial advisor business plan is simply to give clear marching orders towards a clear objective, with clear metrics about what is trying to be achieved along the way, so you know where to focus your own time and energy!Of course, the reality is that what constitutes the most important goals for an advisory firm – as well as the challenges it must surmount – will vary a lot, depending not just on the nature of the firm, but simply on its size, scope, and business stage.Because even if the plan will change as it’s being executed, having a clearly articulated objective allows everyone, even (and especially) in the heat of battle, to keep progressing towards a common agreed-upon goal.In other words, the objective stated in the battle plan provides a common point of focus for everyone to move towards, even as the (battle) landscape shifts around them.Financial advisors just getting started launching a new RIA face very different business and growth issues than a solo advisor who has been operating for several years but now hit a “wall” in the business, and the challenges of a solo advisor are different than those of a larger firm with multiple partners who need to find alignment in their common business goals.Nonetheless, the core essential elements that any business plan is required to cover are remarkably similar.And the business plan serves the exact same role within a business.Because the reality is that in business – as in battle?– the real world will not likely conform perfectly to an extensively crafted business (or battle) plan written in advance, I am not a fan of crafting an extensively detailed business plan, .Accordingly, for most financial advisors trying to figure out how to write a business plan, I’m an advocate of crafting a form of “one-page business plan” that captures the essential elements of the business, and provides direction about where to focus, especially focus the of the advisor-owner in particular.