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3 Goal-Setting Tips for Financial Advisors in Small Practices

Jeremi Karnell
Oct 24, 2018

If you're a financial advisor in a small practice setting, the grass can often look greener on the other side. You look at big firms with aggressive advertising campaigns and smaller firms with a seemingly better marketing strategy than you have, and you start to get worried.

Have you ever wondered why so many of your competitors (big name and small practice) have better marketing success than you? Maybe, you've poured over all of the online resources available to you. Perhaps, you have looked at all of those marketing blogs that saturate the internet.

But, resources alone aren't going to cut it. Often, the difference between successful marketing and marketing that fails to meet the mark comes down to how you set your goals.

Goal-setting can breathe life into your marketing strategy, your business, and you as an individual. So, let's jump right into the thick of it. Here are 4 tips to help you achieve your goal-setting needs and why each of them is important for your overall marketing strategy.

Define Your Long-Term

Before you can even begin to think about all of the actionable items on your goal list or even set up a structured goal-setting plan, you need to define your long-term goals.

You don't want to paint a picture without knowing what your painting right? Setting goals works the same. You want to define what you want your business to look like in 5 years. You want to have an end-game. In other words, what is all of this marketing doing for you? What do you ultimately want?

Sure, this step isn't an actionable step that we can clearly define. It's not a "quick-tip" that's going to rake in the customers, but without it, your overall marketing strategy will fall short.

Also, we always see this "set realistic goals" tips. Forget that. Maybe your long-term goal isn't realistic, so what? Set some hyper-unrealistic goals. Is your business bringing in around $500,000 a year, but you want to make $50 million? Set a goal for $50 million over the next five years. While you're working towards that $50 million, you may find that you only made $3 million. Oh no, you "accidentally" pulled in almost triple your original wages.

  • Think about where you want your company to be in 5 years. Write it down. It's good to remember exactly what you're working towards beyond "some more sales."
  • You're goals don't have to be achievable. Go above and beyond and set some crazy unrealistic goals.
  • Keep your end-goal in mind when you are working on marketing strategies, it can encourage and energize you to produce results.

Analyze Goal Feedback

We aren't going to tell you how to set out goals - some people use journals while others use applications (although you may want to check out some of these free Evernote templates for goal setting and developing your marketing plan.) However, we will tell you that you need to collect feedback on your goals.

Just like you would run an A/B test on a marketing strategy, you need to be able to measure your goals.

Without measurable goals, you won't know if your goals failed or you failed.

So, instead of a goal that said "Make xxx money by running an email campaign by the end of this quarter." try "Run an email campaign that reaches 500 customers by the end of this quarter."

Always state what you need to do - not the results that you need your goals to produce.

You can certainly measure how many clients you sent emails to. If you only measure your goals by success, you won't know if you put in the necessary effort.

After you have completed a goal, you should measure the success of the goal. If the success isn't so good, think about creating a goal that targets an actionable next step. For the email campaign, that could be running some tests or switching up your strategy.

  • Make sure that your goals are measurable.
  • Always use goals that target something you should do - not the results that you should get.
  • Adapt and change as your goals succeed or miss the mark.

Assess Your Risks

After you've brainstormed all of those fantastic goals, made sure they are measurable, and have a long-term goal in mind, it's time to assess your risks.

Every goal has risks. Prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. Think about everything that could go wrong, and plan ways to come out ahead if one of those risks becomes a reality.

Often, we hear people saying that goal-setting is a "positive thinking" exercise. If it is, you're doing it wrong. If you're planning your goals, you should always be thinking of the negative aspects as well. If you don't, when they happen, you'll be left in the dust.

Let's say we are running that email campaign. We reached our goal and sent messages as part of an email campaign to 500 potential clients. Sweet! Then, unfortunately, we realize that there have been absolutely no conversions. What now? This is something that you should have prepared for, and if you did, you will have a plan B in mind to rectify the situation. Maybe, you take it in stride and decide to switch your campaign, or perhaps you use that same email list to target clients in another way. Either way, you were prepared.

  • Don't just think about the positives - the negatives are just as, if not more, significant.
  • Remember, be prepared for the worst.
  • Plot out some Plan Bs - just in case.

Practical goal setting can often be the difference between a good and a great marketing strategy. Setting goals can revitalize you, your business, and help you get a step up on the competition. So, if you're wondering why the competition seems to be doing better than you despite all of your marketing research, try effective goal setting. It can make all the difference.

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