One of the goals of our firm is to help wealth management firms create sustainable value. When I tell people that I often get the question, “what is sustainable value?” For me, doing six things creates sustainable value.
Sustainable firms last for more than one generation.
A firm that has sustainable value will last past the founder. Too often wealth management firms are based on the work of the founder and the clients are attached to that person. If this sounds like you, I have a question for you. What are you doing to make sure your clients aren’t attached to your hip? Are you creating a business or have you created a practice?
If you want to have a firm that’s sustainable you will need to have created a firm that’s a business. If you think of having a practice, it’s going to be very difficult for you to transfer loyalty to others after you’re gone. You need to think about having your firm last past you for you to have a sustainable business.
Sustainable value is creating a firm that others would want to own.
Let me be clear. This is not about getting your firm ready to sell. It could be, but it’s not the focus on creating a firm that others would want to own.
Creating a firm is just that. You get offers that are real and are serious from other organizations that would love to own what you’ve created. You may decide that you want to sell. Most likely you’re going to want to keep the firm….that is if you really have created a firm that others would want to own.
Sustainable value is creating a firm that’s unique.
Unique means that you do different things and sound differently than all the other wealth management firms in the world. This often means you’ve developed a niche that is unique and different.
When COI’s, clients and potential clients speak about your firm they talk about what cool things your firm does. They tell their friends when they are the right clients for your firm. They do this because you’ve really differentiated your firm from what every other wealth management firm in the world does and says.
Sustainable value is having a firm that’s outrageously successful.
A sustainable firm has to have enough profits where everyone benefits. When your firm is outrageously successful you can provide compensation packages that are above average. When your firm is outrageously successful you are in the top 10% of the wealth management world as measured by profits.
When your firm is outrageously profitable you will have gotten word from the universe that you’ve created a firm that is not only sustainable but valuable as well.
Sustainable value is when clients work with the firm.
If your firm has clients that work with advisors your firm is NOT sustainable. If any of those advisors decide to leave they can take those clients with them. If clients aren’t serviced by several people at your firm, they aren’t clients of the firm. They’re clients of individual advisors.
For a firm to be sustainable any time someone leaves you won’t worry about clients leaving with them. You know that your firm’s clients are attached to the firm because they are serviced by a variety of people. Sustainability means that no one person including you is crucial to the success of the firm. Can you honestly say that your clients think of your firm and not any individual as who they do business with?
Sustainable value is a firm you can be proud of.
This is really the most important of the six factors. Are you proud of what you’ve created? Are you proud of the value that you provide for your clients? Are you proud of the amount of profits your firm creates? Finally, are you proud of your reputation in your community? And, are you proud of the work that you’ve done to move your practice to one that’s a business?
If you can answer yes to all five of these questions you’ve created a firm that’s sustainable and one that I hope you’re proud of. What would you add that would be something that would make your firm sustainable?