As a financial advisor, planning for retirement is an essential part of your job for clients. But what are you doing to prepare for your own retirement?
The story of Cynthia, a financial advisor who successfully grew her business before retirement, highlights the importance of having a clear plan in place for your retirement years. It was my pleasure to work with Cynthia through the end of her career.
Cynthia’s Journey: From Growing the Business to Retirement
Cynthia and I began working together when she was 67 years old. At that time, she envisioned working for another six years. Over the next few years, she and I worked together to refine her brand, develop marketing messages that aligned with her ideal clients’ needs, and create a uniquely branded system to support her marketing plan and client communication.
By the time Cynthia turned 70, she had achieved significant growth in her business. However, she realized that she was ready to retire. With my guidance, we shifted our focus to preparing the business for sale and finding the right buyer.
Preparing the Business for Sale
Here are the steps Cynthia and Susan took to prepare the business for sale:
Cynthia and I worked together to refine the business to attract the right opportunity: As she approached the inevitable sale of the business, Cynthia was looking for buyers who had a similar business model including ideal client profile, area(s) of specialization, client support structure, and menu of services. By fine-tuning these systems, Cynthia was better positioned to attract the right buyers.
We developed marketing messages that aligned with ideal client needs. I helped Cynthia craft marketing messages that resonated with her target audience, making her business more appealing to potential buyers.
Cynthia and I worked together to create a uniquely branded system: This system supported the marketing plan, streamlined client and prospect communications, and enabled a more concise sales process.
Developed a marketing plan: Cynthia and her team implemented a marketing plan that outlined clear action-items, responsibilities, and strategies to maintain a strong pipeline of referrals and new clients.
Expanding Your Network and Building Relationships
As Cynthia prepared her business for sale, she also focused on expanding her network and building relationships with other professionals in the financial services industry. This step was crucial for multiple reasons:
The network growth increased credibility: By forming connections with other financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, CPAs, and business consultants, Cynthia boosted her credibility in the industry, making her business more attractive to potential buyers.
A better network led to an enhanced client experience: Collaborating with other professionals allowed Cynthia to provide a more comprehensive and seamless experience for her clients, further increasing the value of her practice.
Her network provided support during the transition: Having a strong network of professionals made it easier for Cynthia to navigate the sale and transition process, ensuring a smoother experience for her clients and the buyer.
Finding the Ideal Buyer
Once the business was prepared for sale, Cynthia and I focused on determining the best buyer for the practice. We considered factors such as the buyer’s brand, client philosophy, investment philosophy, and ability to onboard Cynthia’s clients while allowing her to retire one year later.
After identifying the ideal buyer, they negotiated the terms of the sale and celebrated Cynthia’s successful retirement.
Lessons Learned: Preparing Your Business for Retirement
Cynthia’s story illustrates the importance of planning for your retirement as a financial advisor. Working with an experienced business development coach helps you ensure that your practice is well-positioned for growth and an eventual sale. Here are some key takeaways from Cynthia’s journey:
- Develop a clear plan: Start planning for your retirement early and be prepared to adjust your timeline as needed.
- Work with an expert: Enlist the help of a business development expert who can guide you through the process of refining your brand, developing marketing messages, and creating systems to support your practice’s growth.
- Prepare your business for sale: Ensure your business is in the best possible position to attract the right buyers by refining your brand, developing marketing messages that align with your ideal clients’ needs, creating a uniquely branded system, and implementing a marketing plan.
- Expand your network: Build relationships with other professionals in the financial services industry to increase your credibility, enhance your clients’ experience, and provide support during the transition.
- Find the right buyer: Carefully consider the ideal buyer for your practice, taking into account their brand, client philosophy, investment philosophy, and ability to onboard your clients while allowing you to retire on your terms.
- Negotiate the terms of the sale: Work with an expert to determine and negotiate the best terms for the sale of your practice, ensuring a smooth transition for both you and your clients.
Cynthia’s success story demonstrates the value of having a clear plan and expert guidance when preparing your financial advisory practice for retirement. By following these steps and working with a business development expert, you can ensure a smooth transition for your clients and a successful retirement for yourself.