Financial advisors may be busy helping clients achieve their long-term financial goals day-to-day, but planning for the future of the firm is an important way to ensure long-term success. Without proper planning, financial advisors can get stuck in the everyday rut that makes it difficult to grow revenue and expand the business over time.

These are five key growth strategies you can use to help ensure a successful future for your financial advisory firm.

1. Carve Out a Niche

Many financial advisory firms provide a broad array of services to their clients in order to address the largest possible market. While this strategy is effective in making just about anyone a potential client, you’re competing with every other financial advisory firm in the market with very little differentiation.

Becoming an expert in a niche market — such as serving retired athletes or the tech community — is often a better approach. By developing domain expertise in a small niche, you’re able to more easily differentiate yourself from others, face less competition, command greater loyalty, and potentially justify higher fees.

(For more, see: Money Habits of Millennials.)

2. Build Great Customer Relationships

Referrals from existing clients are one of the best ways for financial advisors to drum up business, but most firms are content delivering standard services and reactively waiting for any referrals. Over time, these behaviors can lead to all types of competition cannibalizing your client base.

By going above and beyond expectations, your clients are more likely to become brand ambassadors for your firm and offer up unsolicited introductions. According to several studies, the majority of people trust referrals from people they know, which means that referrals can be a great way to build a client base.

(For more, see 7 Questions All Financial Advisors Need to Ask.)

3. Don’t Compromise on Price

Price is a contentious issue when running just about any type of business, particularly businesses where clients have many choices. In the financial industry, many advisors are concerned about raising prices for long-term clients, despite adding new services over time that justify those higher prices.

By clearly identifying how you’re helping clients achieve their long-term goals, price shopping becomes more difficult to quantify and there’s less client backlash from raising prices. The key is highlighting the ways in which your firm goes above and beyond typical services and achieves greater long-term value for clients.

(For more, see: How to Be a Top Financial Advisor.)

4. Grow the Firm's Branding

Many financial advisors working with smaller firms tend to have pretty relaxed rules surrounding branding. For example, a financial advisor with an outdated LinkedIn profile could be sending the wrong message to clients by failing to indicate that they’re working with a given financial advisory firm.

By keeping websites, social media profiles, and other parts of your digital presence up-to-date and consistent, clients can be more confident in the financial advisory firm, its employees and partners. Maintaining an informative blog or posting educational content to media channels like YouTube can also help grow an audience and brand awareness over time.

(For related reading, see: Six Things Bad Financial Advisors Do.)

5. Develop a Unique and Loyal Network

Many financial advisory firms provide standardized services with very little differentiation from others in the industry. While client outings to grab dinner or go wine tasting provide great networking opportunities, there are many ways that financial advisory firms can go above and beyond.

By limiting clients and avoiding large and impersonal events, financial advisors can avoid occasions where people feel forced to network. Financial advisors should also be sure that at least a quarter of participants are strong advocates that are likely to talk up the business to prospective clients that have been invited.

(For more, see: Financial Advisors Are Feeling Cyber-Insecure.)

The Bottom Line

Financial advisory firms face a lot of competition, which makes it important to focus on growing your client base. By keeping these tips in mind, financial advisors can ensure the long-term success of their firms.

(For related reading, see: How Financial Advisors Can Adjust to Robo-Advisors.)

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