True Story: How $600 million AUM Advisory Firm improved profitability and culture
- Business growth was stagnant
- Profit margins were in the single digits
- Lack of clarity on client segments, services and staff
- Staff roles not clearly defined, hampered productivity
- Antiquated, unintegrated tech
- No formalized interview, new hire training, mentoring or career path process in place
- Culture stuck in negative mode
- Process and business improvements were stalled
JGC created a master business plan that assessed the business revenue model, profitability, client segments and services, staff roles and responsibilities and profitability margins. We empowered the Lead Planner and CIO into greater roles, created champions and gave authority for each new improvement, provided the President with a suitable succession plan that capitalized on their passion for marketing and business development, clarified roles and skills to develop, and attracted more qualified staff to boost firm productivity and progress.
- CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Utilized and taught change management techniques, such as multi project planning (duration, champions, timelining, benefits), collaboration, design thinking, clarifiers (what/why/who/when), and more. These techniques accelerated buy-in, empowered and boosted positive energy, and increased adoption at a faster, healthy pace.
- PEOPLE: Clarified roles and skills and strategically moved staff into more beneficial roles. Empowered the CIO to transition into COO and Head of Staff position as stepping stone to President. Empowered and guided a Lead Planner on clarifying client segments, services, staffing, and creating a training program for advisors, which promoted the planner to Director of Financial Planning.
- CLIENT SEGMENTATION, EXPERIENCE, PROFITABILITY: Clarified each client segment, assigned staff, services provided, and fees to maintain quality servicing and profitability. This effort maximized the involvement and skills of support staff members, reduced labor hours of lead planners, and provided an easy method of explaining services and fees to prospects and not-fit clients.
- HIRING: Attracted a more experienced staff person to replace the departing receptionist. Identified and currently pursuing the hire of an experienced Associate Planner with a goal to become Lead Planner. Created and documented a new hire interview, pre-hire, and on-board process to ensure the proper hire and on-boarding. Guided firm to create a training program that includes curriculum on firm philosophy, technology use, technical planning techniques, and more.
- STAFF: Created teaching schedule to train current staff, empowered staff by creating champions for each improvement and collaborating with purpose, accelerated promotion of staff, and instituted accountability for all through the use of more effective CRM processes.
- IT: Updated from Excel to MoneyGuide Pro and Orion Eclipse, Portfolio Center to Orion, Microsoft Exchange to 365, Junxure Desktop to Junxure Cloud; added Zoom for video conferencing, Calendly for appointment scheduling, and Sharefile for digital document collaboration with clients.
SUCCESS WITHIN 1 YEAR:
- Complete mindset shift from negativity to collaboration and openness to continuous improvements
- Profit margins increased from single to double digits
- Firm valuation increased by 55%
- Lead planner promoted to Director of Financial Planning
- Transition and Succession plan put in place for President
- Career path put in place for CIO to become President
- Active mentoring and training of staff to improve skills, match preferred career paths to goals and skills training
- Significant decrease in stress
- Attracted more experienced Client Service Administrator (CSA) and Operations Assistant
- Created training program for new hires
“As roles and responsibilities changed, we were able to work smarter not harder. We eliminated unnecessary work to focus on what each of us does best. Everyone can now play to his or her strengths. We were always a very collaborative team with each employee playing an important role, but it was helpful to have someone on the outside looking in, keeping us accountable and challenging our thought processes on some things. Working with Jennifer helped build a deeper trust within an already close team.
A lot changed, but our commitment to servicing our clients well and our core values and philosophies did not change. The way we did things changed, but not the why. We are still always putting our clients first.”
“As a firm, we have experienced palpable transition in a fairly condensed time period: ownership, technology, processes and expectations. Change, whether it be in business or something more leisurely (like one’s favorite app) can elicit a spectrum of response. For our firm, there laid both enormous opportunity and acknowledged challenge.
When we partnered with Jen, we were a firm that was restarting its engines. We almost all understood that revamping our technology stack would not only address one of our biggest challenges, but also lay the groundwork for future opportunities. Jen took time to understand our needs and goals and helped narrow the technology landscape to the offerings that made the most sense for our firm.
As we began implementation, we also began charting our new course for the future while Jen, on occasion, acted as a compass to provide orientation. As our engagement with Jen concludes, we recognize part of our future success is based on an endogenous cycle of improvement, innovation and implementation. The other part is based those elements of our firm that have remained persistent- our core values, our support for one another and our focus on client service.
As a firm we look forward to keeping our legacy going into the future.”
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