“Extraordinary is when you love other people’s success. You want to see other people succeed. You want to celebrate their wins. You want to cheer them on. And you want to see people move forward, and be a part of it.”
You have a clear picture of what extraordinary looks like to you, but how do you bring it to life? What are the steps to building an extraordinary, long-lasting, and successful business? Here’s a hint—there is no “one size fits all.”
In our first installment of our Running an Extraordinary Business Series, Defining Extraordinary, we asked financial advisors and industry experts to define what extraordinary means to them. Now, it’s time to take the next step toward running an extraordinary business - building it.
And just like we learned as we defined extraordinary, the process to building it can be as varied and unique as the business itself.
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, you, the financial advisor, do need to have a plan. Process makes the extraordinary possible. Taking the first step toward a new process, or a new way of doing business, can be the hardest part sometimes. So where do you begin? You might want to start by asking for help. Soliciting great advice. Learning from other financial advisors who have been there.
I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend and colleague, Daniel Casse, to see what help, advice, and learnings he could offer me—and our growing network of 19,000 financial advisors.
Results, strategy, and a sense of belonging
As the President of the G100 Chief Executive Group, Daniel has spent the last 15 years coaching some of the great leaders of the world. Naturally, the question I wanted to ask him was: What does it take to build and lead an extraordinary business?
For Daniel, leading an extraordinary business comes down to three things: results, strategy, and a sense of belonging. To lead a successful business, of course you need to deliver results. You also need a strategy that people can align on. That third element—a sense of belonging—that’s one that some leaders might overlook. But think of the opportunity for your business when people feel connected to their boss and proud of where they work. Unlocking that sense of community and engagement from your team—paired with performance and strategy—could be the difference in taking your business from profitable to industry leading. From a well-run operation to a thriving success. From a solid business to an extraordinary one.
In fact, the LPL financial advisors we met with reinforced these tenets to extraordinary. But before we get to their stories, here’s a quick rundown of some of the other key learnings I gained through my conversation with Daniel:
- Great leaders are surrounded not by private planes, but by great teams. To raise the bar year after year, you can’t do it alone. You need fellowship.
- Bounce back from the setbacks. A successful career is rarely a straight line to the top. Recovering from a setback—making sure it doesn’t destroy you or the company—is part of the job. And that may just be what defines your legacy.
- Know the difference between the urgent and the important. The important is the life of your company, and you can’t let the urgent—the fire drills, so to speak—overshadow the important things.
- You serve more than just your customers. “Stakeholders” in your company are people—the customers, the investors, the employees, and the competitors. To lead a company, you have to remember to serve those stakeholders in a way that’s very real—and to do that, you need the understand them.
- Define your purpose. More than simply liking you, or liking what they do, make sure your teams know that what they’re doing matters. And set the tone that people may disagree with a business decision, but they should still feel like they have influence. That will keep them connected to the overall mission. Purpose creates a sense of commonality, of alignment.
To close our chat, Daniel summed up his experience, learnings, and years of conversations with this one idea: “Extraordinary is when you love other people’s success. You want to see other people succeed. You want to celebrate their wins. You want to cheer them on. And you want to see people move forward, and be a part of it.”
“To build an extraordinary business, it takes hard work, commitment, but really staying true to who you are. I view our business as extraordinary because it’s been authentic and purposeful.” - Lisa VanArsdale, 3rivers
Building an extraordinary practice by giving back
Our team sat down with LPL advisor Joel Malakoff, who shared that he’s built his extraordinary financial practice by being focused on giving back to the community and being socially responsible. Malakoff grew up going on mission trips, and he chose to take what he learned about community, faith, and humanity, and focus on the economic side and join his family business at Malakoff & Associates. “What I found is that whatever I’m doing, I just love to build and grow things,” said Joel. And for him, he added, the idea of driving business growth is affirming “that we have a real value for people…and also for the life and well-being of the community.”
A family business, serving families
Mark Shepherd founded Shepherd Financial Partners over 30 years ago, with a primary focus of serving his family. “We were a family in transition, having a family member that had passed away,” Mark explained. So his service was about “really empowering each and every one of the family members in a way that no one had ever talked with them before.”
That sentiment grew as Shepherd Financial Partners has continued to serve other families, and be a real partner with them in their journey throughout their financial life. And Mark understands the value of process in building his business and maintaining trust with his clients. Working with a lot of family businesses, he shared how important it was to have a deeply rooted process and getting people on board with that as early as possible. “And we’re deeply committed to making sure that our clients can see the strategy, measure their success along the journey, and then to what they’re trying to accomplish,” said Mark.
Comprehensive planning for a niche market
Marci Bair, Certified Financial Planner® and President of Bair Financial Planning, covers the gamut of financial planning, while focusing in on a select group of clients. She works primarily with LGBTQ clients, women in leadership, and progressive business owners, or as Marci would describe her approach, “We want to work with people that really care about each other and about the community.”
Comprehensive financial planning doesn’t mean doing it all herself. Marci relies of a network of experts so she can deliver a concierge service for her clients and ensure she always has the right people—and right referrals—in place. That way, she can focus on getting to know her clients, and plan ahead for every possibility. “I think the benefit of having a kind of niche market is really understanding the market really well on a deep level,” said Marci.
“When we build an extraordinary business in life, it takes a plan. Know the numbers, write it down. Its hard work but you’ve got to have a plan, you’ve got to measure it. And you have to have fun and enjoy it."
- Judy VanArsdale, Lakeview Wealth Management, 3rivers
The data speaks for itself
We’ve heard some great learnings and stories from Daniel Casse and our advisors. But for those who like digging into the data, LPL’s New Ventures Lab Team conducted a study on high-performing financial advisors. Check out this infographic to see what factors contribute to becoming a high performer—and the impressive growth those advisors have seen as a result.
“LPL is committed to helping our advisors build extraordinary businesses, and we are constantly asking ourselves how we can continue to deliver value. Our High Performers research demonstrates our commitment to taking a data-first approach to new ways of serving our advisors." - Rich Steinmeier, Managing Director, Divisional President of Business Development at LPL
Next up: Delivering extraordinary results
Tune in next month for the final installment in our extraordinary series, where we dive into what it takes to deliver on extraordinary results for your business.
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisor(s) are as of the date of the recording. These views may not be representative of the views of other Financial Advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL Financial Advisor can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.
Throughout this communication, the terms “financial advisors” and “advisors” include registered representatives and/or investment adviser representatives affiliated with LPL Financial LLC, an SEC registered broker-dealer and investment advisor.
* Daniel Casse and the G100 Chief Executive Group are not affiliated with LPL Financial.