6 Essential Milestones of First-Year Advisory Firms
The process of growing a financial advisory business requires both skill and intentional action. Setting well-defined goals and tracking your progress against them can make your business more profitable. Company milestones are the specific outcomes or goals you aim to achieve in your business strategy.
In the first year of your business, you can create a list of company milestones that can serve as your road map. These short, measurable goals can be crossed off the list as you pursue larger business objectives.
Business milestones should at least include the following:
- Measurable results
- Clearly defined responsibilities
- Expected completion dates
Here is an example of milestones that fit these criteria:
- Goal: Increase sales over the next quarter by acquiring three new clients.
- Who’s responsible: Firm owner.
When determining what steps are essential for growing your business, keep in mind these six broad milestones:
- Find and Lock-in Your First Client
- Increase Your Sales
- Develop a Marketing Strategy
- Create a Budget
- Establish Your Brand
- Assemble a Team
Find and Lock-in Your First New Client
Your first sale is an important milestone; sales is service, and it is imperative to make money. Closing your first client is a great confidence booster that reassures you that people are willing to spend money on your services. With so many ways to find clients in this digital age, from online events to engaging with people via social media, there are various ways to generate leads.
When you’ve developed a sales strategy, apply it to every prospective client. Soon, you’ll have more clients than you can count.
Increase Your Sales
For a business to grow and succeed, revenue is an important metric. To be profitable and cash-rich, you must consistently generate revenue that exceeds monthly expenses. A key goal for the first year is to increase your sales by a specific number you choose since your sales numbers will be small initially. This goal should be covered in your activated marketing plan and strategy.
At the end of the period, assess your progress against your goals. If you still need to hit your targets, adjust your marketing and/or sales strategies.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
A comprehensive and scalable marketing plan is an important milestone for a startup in its first year.
There was a time when businesses would hire a marketing firm to handle everything. While many entrepreneurs still go this route – and you can too if you have the budget – most entrepreneurs are better off handling as much marketing as they can in-house before outsourcing.
By proactively participating in marketing, entrepreneurs can develop two skills: delegation and tenacity. Developing a marketing strategy based on the tools available to you and dedicating time to marketing your business will be integral. As soon as you understand the tools, develop a scalable marketing strategy (scalable means you can increase the impact without increasing the costs).
Eventually, working with the right people and leveraging internet marketing techniques will enable you to create a marketing strategy that is guaranteed to produce results.
Create a Budget
You may need help budgeting in your first year because no previous numbers are there to guide you. It would help to estimate your income and expenses based on typical costs. The items can fall into categories like compliance, marketing, client relationship management, and accounting software.
Maintaining an adequate budget will help you keep track of your spending limits, monthly budget figures, and allow you to make adjustments when more information becomes available.
Establish Your Brand
Establishing a reputation as a top-notch financial advisory practice can help you increase revenue and establish your brand. Setting a solid brand in the first year can be done with a solid marketing plan and strategy, executed consistently. Your company can establish a strong presence by defining its voice and telling everyone who will listen.
Always post content on social media that solves your target audience’s problem. Brand awareness and influence depend heavily on consistently posting so communities can see what you’re talking about.
Take steps to analyze your performance at the end of the year so that you can determine company milestones for the following year. Utilize the information to see what worked and correct any mistakes. To determine how well you did, track your performance against your budget; compare expenses, income, and profits to your monthly targets; check cash flow; and evaluate customer feedback and testimonials.
By following these best practices, you’ll keep your company milestones in mind and trackable, allowing you to make strategic pivots as soon as possible.
Assemble a Team
With the exception of a few lucky business models, starting out as a one-person operation will only take you so far.
When you hire and train a team, your business will grow by leaps and bounds. Put in the time to develop an outstanding training program before you hire your first employee. This will enable you to set up employees for success without stumbling through it and wasting time, energy, and money with the wrong people.
Alternatively, you can hire a virtual assistant or contractor. A virtual assistant can take much work off your plate without becoming a formal team member. They can also help you establish that highly sought-after work-life balance entrepreneurs crave.
A startup milestone is a great way to gauge your business’ health and decide what to do next.
Every company is unique, so the details of each milestone may differ. However, success and failure should give you insight into what happened during that crucial first year.
Are you trying to drive business results and achieve your goals with strategic initiatives? We can help you with that! Please explore our website for solutions or contact us today for more information.