“I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me…”

We asked RIAs from across the country to share the best piece of advice they could give to their fellow advisors. Click to explore what they said and gain insights that can help your business flourish!

“Just as you would with clients, find out what motivates your employees.” —An RIA from Texas

Invest in your team

Your associates and staff can be crucial to making sure your business runs smoothly. That’s why it’s so important to nurture each employee’s career path as you would your own. When you find out what motivates each one and play to their strengths, you can help decrease turnover and create a positive chain reaction that helps your business flourish. Because when your employees are happy, your clients are happy, too!

“Remember—you can’t operate on a negative return.” —An RIA from Maine

Focus on profit, not revenue

It’s an easy trap to fall into, but many RIAs only see revenue when signing a new client. Instead, it’s important to remember the costs associated with each piece of new business. In addition to manpower, remember to factor in rent, utilities, outside vendors, and other business costs. The amount you have left over is your true profit. Once you’ve started operating within realistic profit margins, you can more effectively focus on helping your clients’ portfolios grow.

“You should make every financial decision with the big picture in mind.” —An RIA from MIssissippi

Financial choices affect your clients and your business

With every investment you make in your business, make note of how it affects your book value. In theory, this number should only remain stable or increase over time, even when market activity fluctuates. To help achieve this, avoid spending or investing money you know you’ll need within a short window—that would be a risk not worth taking.

“Don’t try to hit the bullseye when hitting the target is just as effective." —An RIA from Florida

Think broader

Trying to market to the customers who have the most interest in your services may seem like a more effective way to advertise, but it could cost you a pretty penny. By expanding your horizons, you can reach those same potential clients, plus some—all while spending less money.

“It’s important to understand that clients are driven by emotion.” —An RIA from California

Know your clients inside and out

Be sure to truly listen to your clients, find out what makes them tick, and take the time to show them how their needs influence your recommendations. Keep the lines of communication open, even when returns aren’t great. And remember—if you’re ever struggling over a decision, the best way to go is always the choice that does right by your client.

RIA Best Advice Slide 7 —“Don’t be afraid. Clients will follow.”

An RIA from New York

Chances are you have the experience and know-how needed for your business to flourish. Remind yourself of this often and let it help motivate you to be a trailblazer. When clients know you’re confident, they are likely to take your lead.

“Figure out one differentiator and focus on that.” —An RIA from Illinois

Follow your vision

As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up someplace else.” This can be especially true for RIAs. By discovering your specialty and sticking to it, it can help effectively differentiate you from the crowd and keep your business on its intended course.

“Who you partner with is key.” —An RIA from Georgia

Embrace being part of a larger community

Don’t go it alone. Surrounding yourself with the right team and clients can make a world of difference when it comes to accomplishing your goals. It’s equally important to show your support to causes you are passionate about. Your participation could be key to helping you connect with colleagues and potential clients.

“Pick a custodian who doesn’t compete with you.” —An RIA from North Carolina

Choose the right custodian

Having the right custodian can make or break your business. Be sure to find one that shares your values and offers the tools, resources, and community support to help you pursue success without adding more competition into the mix. If you’re unsure of where to start, try asking other RIAs about their custodial experiences. Their advice can make vetting your options easier than you think!

Meet advisors like you who are
growing their business, their way

Anjali Jariwala

She grows her firm by targeting clients who share her life experiences.

Rachel Moran

She joined an existing firm to evolve her career and focus on clients.

NextGen Advisors

Hear from advisors who know about how the RIA model is perfect for NextGen talent.

Joining a Firm

Hear from an advisor who joined a firm to help her career flourish.

Operational Efficiency

Hear from an operations pro about how to streamline your firm's operations to provide a seamless customer experience.

Bob Rall

He uses technology and non-traditional marketing to help his firm succeed.

Evelyn Zohlen

She works with TD Ameritrade to focus on making a difference in women's lives.

Eileen O'Connor

She grows her firm by fostering a happy work environment for her team.

The Fong Brothers

They turned their family values into a strong foundation for a growing and successful firm.

Doug Liptak

Keeping things simple helped him grow his firm to hold over $2.4B AUM.

Ready for more

advisor insights and advice?

You’re Talented.

Let’s Prove It!

When it comes to being an RIA, you deserve to be in the limelight. So, get in touch with your musical side by taking our Unleash Your Inner Superstar quiz.

Outsource your

way to real growth

Depending on the size of your firm, you and your team may find yourselves wasting a lot of time juggling. To optimize your staff to the fullest, read our white paper to learn how delegating a few daily tasks can help your business grow.

Additional resources
to help you on your journey

Quick Guide

A Student’s Guide to a Career in Financial Planning

Which advising model is right for you? Use this guide to find out—and learn more about the industry.

Infographic

Finding the Right Fit: A Quick Guide to Joining the Right RIA Firm

Ready to join an RIA firm but not sure where to begin? This checklist can help.

Slideshow

Become Robo-Efficient in 3 Easy Steps

Offer clients the automated convenience robo-advisors can provide—plus the human touch they can’t.

Infographic

Advocating for You: The Cornerstone of What We Do

We support RIAs in their firms, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Find out how we practice industry advocacy.

Need more resources to guide you?