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Plan to Succeed with Your Independent Financial Advisory Business

Plan to Succeed with Your Independent Financial Advisory Business

March 23, 2022

When baseball great Yogi Berra is credited with saying “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else” he was probably not talking about what could happen to financial advisors who lack a plan for their business-ownership dream. But the wisdom baked into that  statement is worth considering.

Quite often, people who want to start their own business spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to achieve but may not formalize a pathway for making it happen. Fortunately, creating a business plan need not be a daunting task. And the benefits of creating one can be quite tangible.

Why a Business Plan Makes a Difference for Independent Financial Advisors

Creating a business plan has real benefits for financial advisors who wish to move from being an employee to owning their own business. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) suggests a business plan will help steer the business “…like a GPS for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through and detail all the key elements of how your business will run.”

The SBA also notes a business plan can assist in getting a loan or line of credit to help equipping a new office or with other start-up expenses. The plan helps banks or investors feel confident that working with you will result in a return on their investment and that investing in your business is a smart decision.

Key Elements of Financial Advisor Business Plans

Business plans need not be complicated or time-consuming to complete. In fact there are many advocates for one-page financial advisor business plans, including, that “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!”

Key elements for such a plan could include:

  • Clearly identify a particular clientele you will serve.
    • This step can help anticipate opportunities and problems in advance.
  • Articulate how you will serve those clients and the services you will deliver.
    • Key differentiators that set you apart and above competing firms
  • Describe marketing initiatives to reach prospective clients.
  • List the business goals and key performance metrics to evaluate your success.
    • Financial forecasts including a Profit and Loss Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet.
    • Five year vision
    • One year goals
  • Discuss how you will focus your own time as an advisor/owner of the business.
  • Determine the business entity you will establish and provide a roadmap for licensing/registrations, office space, technology, expected staffing needs, compliance support

There is an abundance of resources available to help with the process including another example of a one-page business plan provided by Wealth Management and a more detailed planning template for financial advisors at

There’s perhaps a bit of irony in a statistic[1] by the Financial Planners Association (FPA), which indicates that business with a plan grow 30% more than those that do not. Despite these results, the FPA study shows only 28% of advisors actually have their own business plan. Even if that number were twice as large, wouldn’t it make sense for a new financial advisor to hit the ground running with a solid plan to provide a better pathway to long term success? And wouldn’t it also make sense for an established financial advisor to make up for lost business planning time?