Mastering Your Firm’s Growth

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” There’s a lot of truth in that old saying. Growth is an essential part of life. We’re designed to grow. As children, we grow into adults; as professionals, we grow from financial novices to become wealth management veterans.  Our firms grow (hopefully) from small start-ups to mature profitable businesses.

But when growth is mishandled, it can be destructive. It’s not enough to just grow; you must master growth to make sure it heads in a positive, productive direction. If you don’t properly supervise it, growth can overwhelm your business with challenges and problems.  

Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to steer clear of such pitfalls.

The first step is managing your time. You can’t work on solutions to pressing problems when you’re wasting hour after hour on tedious tasks. The answer is literally at your fingertips: harness the power of technology. I’ve written at length about how well-deployed tech can free up more time in your day.

Time is your greatest ally in managing growth. Because time allows you to think through the big decisions so you can move forward with complete confidence and trust in your choice.

Speaking of trust, it’s an essential element in managing growth. You must trust yourself and your team. One important crucial way to foster trust is by saying “no,” especially when asked to take on additional non-essential tasks. Don’t try to please everyone; you simply can’t.   

Speaking of trust, delegate responsibilities to your team members, and trust them to do a good job with those tasks. One of the biggest traps people fall into is feeling they must do everything themselves. Failing to share the workload with your colleagues hurts your chances of successfully managing your growth. 

Here’s another invaluable tip: stop seeing unicorns. We all know they don’t exist. Neither do “silver bullet solutions” that will magically make your problems go away. When faced with a problem or major decision, too many people squander precious time looking for an easy way out. They rely on a quick fix—like hiring the latest Wunderkind consultant— hoping that will take care of everything and make the hard stuff go away. It won’t. At best, it will only delay making the hard decision. At worst, it could cause multiple new headaches and hassles. There are no easy ways out.  

Next, don’t be too proud to ask for help. I don’t care whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the proprietor of a mom-and-pop firm. Sooner or later, we all need a helping hand. Smart and successful people ask for assistance. Those who don’t wallow in their worsening problems … and waste precious time while they do. Turn to those who can help you and accept their assistance.

Finally, be very selective about the people with whom you surround yourself. It’s tempting to have a chorus of “yes men” who will praise every move you make—until something goes wrong. Then the “Hallelujah Chorus” turns into a tragic Greek chorus.

Instead of sycophants and phonies, pick people who push and challenge you, who spur you to be your best, and to dig deeper inside yourself when searching for answers. The things they say may not always be music to your ears, but they will spur you to scale even greater heights.     

Above all, don’t be afraid to fail. All too often, we take the safe course, the proven path that’s less risky. But that course doesn’t take your firm where you want it to go and where it needs to be. Remember, our failures are every bit as important as our success, provided you learn from your mistakes.

Freeing up more time, trusting others, delegating, and being willing to try new approaches and ideas — when practiced together, they can all help you grow your firm to the next level in a healthy way.