The Advisor Practice Lifecycle™
A Guide to Building Practice Value In Four Stages
DKE Advisor Solutions & Advent Software Inc.
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This white paper is designed to help you manage the transitions in your investment advisory practice. When you started an advisory business, did you anticipate the obstacles that have appeared? You probably began with goals of helping people and making money. However, it quickly became clear that running a business creates many distractions from these goals. Time is your most valuable asset. When spending time working on the business, you're not helping clients and you're not making money. We wrote this guide to help minimize distractions as you launch, grow, sustain, and exit your advisory practice.
An advisory business will progress more quickly when the challenges and decisions ahead are clear. DKE Advisor Solutions examined this process through a series of interviews with independent investment advisors and thought leaders in the investment advisor community. We also drew on our experience working with dozens of advisors, from start-ups to mature firms. This inspired the Advisor Practice Lifecycle™, a framework for understanding your challenges—and solutions for overcoming or even preventing them.
The Advisor Practice Lifecycle™ has four stages:
1. Start-Up—When you begin your business 2. Growth—When the focus is on growing the business through your own efforts or acquisitions 3. Maturity—When the business generates enough ongoing cash flow that you can begin to focus more on personal and family goals 4. Exit—When you implement a strategy to leave your business You may have already intuitively grasped that there are different stages to a firm's development. Our framework goes beyond simply identifying stages. We also identify transitional phases, where you're likely to experience the most pain in moving the practice to the next stage. Transition phases tend to be time‑consuming and costly as you tear down or modify existing systems and processes only to rebuild them to levels of greater capability and efficiency that allow you address new and expanding goals. Knowing what you are likely to face as the practice grows can help navigate the painful transitions in record time. It can also help build your business as though you are going to sell it tomorrow, which we believe is one of the keys to maximizing the ultimate value of a practice.
You'll learn more below about the Advisor Practice Lifecycle's stages, transitions, and how to effectively and efficiently manage predictable challenges.