For many financial advisors, improving business development strategies can be a challenging task to address. With the myriad tools available to advisors that help them analyze the potential outcomes of their ideas and strategies, collecting the data to do so has become easier than ever. At the same time, though, over-analyzing strategies prior to implementing them can create a substantial gap between ideating a plan and actually putting it into motion. And sometimes, the fear of committing to an idea that might end in failure can be the real reason for the hesitation to implement in the first place.
In our 99th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss how advisors can recognize behavior that may be impeding them from starting a plan, how incrementally implementing a plan can help put overall risk in perspective, and how changing small behaviors can help advisors gain confidence to implement important plans vital to continue growing and scaling their businesses.
As a starting point, it’s important for advisors to recognize when they fail to take action because of the human tendency to hide from the pressure of implementing a risky idea. This can emerge as procrastination, overanalysis, or becoming occupied with any number of tasks that they feel are necessary to complete first (such as ensuring every minute detail has been thoroughly examined and vetted) before taking any steps toward executing the actual idea being considered.
One way to deal with this hesitation to take action is to set goals in smaller increments, which can ensure progress while keeping the workload reasonable. As while it is easy to get caught up in the (sometimes unfounded) fears that even just one misstep can have catastrophic consequences, keeping a realistic perspective on the impact of failed attempts also becomes more manageable when aiming for smaller subgoals that are part of a larger process. Importantly, by implementing micro-actions instead of tackling larger tasks, advisors may find it easier to address failure when it does come up, as the fear of failing at one small step in a larger process is much easier to handle than the fear of total failure of the whole system. And by identifying how to break up their process into smaller, more manageable steps and keeping the potential failure of each particular step in perspective, advisors can more easily see their plan through.
Ultimately, the key point is that finding the confidence to take action on a risky strategic plan begins with identifying behaviors that might sabotage our efforts and examining how risky the plan actually is. While it may feel scary at first, taking smaller steps can help the advisor not only put the actual risk of a plan into better perspective, but can also be much easier to implement and test new approaches when those smaller steps don’t work out as planned. Which, over time, can help the advisor build the confidence they need to take the necessary action that will bring them closer to achieving more (and even bigger!) business goals!