Practice Management Overview
Transcript of the video:
Hi, my name is Andrew Town and I'm a senior business management consultant with Schwab Advisor Services. And I'm here on behalf of our broader business consulting and education team. We are all really happy that you're here spending a few minutes learning about our practice management resources. This session today is all about making great use of your time. So, over the next 20 or so minutes, I'm gonna share as much as I can about our programs and resources that are designed to help you reach your goals, whether you have just a few minutes or even maybe a few hours to work on them. Now, as we go through the session, you may come up with a few questions whether it's about some of the topics I'm mentioning or whether to find some of the resources. So, reach out to us. We've posted the email address here on the slide, VirtualPracticeManagement@Schwab.com. We'd love to hear from you whether it's feedback or a question that we can help with. Now, as a consulting team, we've been working with advisors for over 30 years, and we've seen a lot. We've worked with a range of different size firms, we've helped them tackle different topics, work on different challenges, and along the way, we have captured a lot of our learnings and have worked hard to design resources to help meet you where you are based on the bandwidth you have to tackle a certain topic and based on the topic that has your attention. Wherever you are in your practice management journey, we're just excited that we can be here along with you for your next step. As I share about some of our resources and programs today, you'll notice that they're all gonna be informed by both our consulting and from insights that we gained from our benchmarking study. If you're not familiar with Schwab's benchmarking study, I'll share just a little bit about it. It's an annual study that pulls together data from over a thousand firms, and that, first of all, can help ha give you confidence that this data is really reliable and representative of what's going on in our industry. But it's not just about the overall data set, it's about making it useful for you. And one of the things that I most appreciate about the study is that it's designed to show your data alongside data from your peers in the industry. So, you don't have to worry about that you're comparing apples to oranges, you can see that this is how you are doing relative to firms like yours on a whole range of practice management metrics. And these study, by the way, open up in January each year for several weeks, and we always have resources available in advance to help you prepare to participate if you're interested. So, we look forward to having you participate in the next study and to connecting with you about it in the future. So, based on the consulting that we've done for decades with advisors and based on insights that we gained from the benchmarking study, we have created what we refer to as five guiding principles for advisory firm success. These are five areas that can help you focus on your strengths and opportunities as an advisory firm and they include strategic planning, for one. Strategic planning is about helping kind of elevate your view from day-to-day concerns to the things that'll impact the long-term health of your business. And the second is about client value. This is about finding ways to do do great work that your current clients and your future ideal clients will really value. The third is about operations. This is essentially accuracy and efficiency. Those are the foundation for a great client experience and for helping make sure that your firm is really scalable. The fourth is reputation. This is an area that gives you an opportunity to be proactive about sharing, kind of spreading the word about not just the fact that you exist, but why people should connect with you. And the fifth is then about people. This is about you, your partners, your associates. We wanna do everything that we can to help support your ability to ensure your team is as engaged and collaborating as effectively as possible. And we know that all five of these areas are extremely important. So, we've designed this range of programs and resources to help you work on the areas that most have your attention. But if you're not sure which you want to work on or what you wanna focus on for now, we have a tool that will help you identify what your best opportunity might be for your firm at the moment. And I'll share a little bit more about that tool a little later on in the call. Now, it's great to have all these resources available but where do you find the time to use them? Now, of course, there may be some things that you'll wanna spend a little bit more time and energy on but there's a lot of that you can do that's really valuable to help move forward in just a few minutes at a time. So, that's what I'm gonna talk about today. I'm gonna share as much as I can about our programs and resources in terms of time commitment. I'll share what it will look like to engage with these resources. And I'll also point you to resources about certain topics based on what might have your attention today. Let's start with some resources that you might appreciate when you have just a few minutes to engage. Now, with some of these resources, you might get a lot of value out of browsing them for just a few minutes. And in other cases, you might want to or might even need to spend a little bit more time really digging In. Either way, these resources are available when you are and they're useful anytime you're looking for new ideas or new perspective on a certain topic. The first I wanna mention are our guiding principle series insight papers. Now, if your idea, the ideal way to start the day is grabbing a cup of coffee and a white paper with some really compelling thought leadership, this might be the place for you to start. These papers really dive deep into our perspective on a range of topics based on the white paper that you retrieve. It might be strategy, marketing, we have compliance review papers available. A range of topics that will help you, you know, really dig deep into where your opportunities might be. The next topic is continuing education. Now, for those of you that have a continuing education requirement, you may be used to spending a significant amount of money on courses from different providers. You're a Schwab client, which means you have access to a whole continuing education platform of complimentary courses. We have 40 courses on a variety of topics at the moment and that number continues to grow. Now the third resource in this area is a relatively new one for us. And the change here is that everyone with a Schwab Advisor Center login also has a license to the LinkedIn Learning library, which is really great because that provide, kind of opens the door to thousands of courses on a range of topics. So, this is something that you can access at your convenience through the RIA ed center. And those courses can be useful on their own but sometimes it might not be clear where to start. You know, anytime you walk into a new library, might be a little bit overwhelming. So, we've created playlists to help you get started. Those playlists can help a new associate, get their arms around to some business fundamentals when they join, or it can help other folks in your firm elevate their Excel skills or their executive presence. But whatever the focus might be, this is a really great compliment to the RIA advisor specific content that we have throughout so much of our platform. In our next section, I'm about to get into a few more resources that focus on taking action, really building on and moving forward based on the insights that you've gained from some of these resources that I'm sharing about now. But before we get there, I want to share one more that will help you gain insight and that's our business consulting and education webcast series. Now, first, I highly recommend these webcasts. But, especially if you heard me talk about grabbing a cup of coffee and a white paper as being an ideal way to start the day and you weren't really feeling like that was your vibe, this might be ideal for you. Because sometimes it's great to just be able to listen to somebody sharing their perspective on a topic that's really important to you. Now, these webcasts are hosted monthly by our senior business management or technology consultants based on the topic. And we are always focusing on topics that advisors tell us have their attention. You also, by the way, have the opportunity to not just sign up or register for courses that are upcoming but also listen to recordings of some of the courses or some of the webcasts that we've done in the past. Now, with those insights under our belt, we have an opportunity to really start to dig in a little bit and start to take action. And the first couple of resources I'd like to mention related to taking action are our resource centers. If you want to, let's say, post a new job opening, our Talent Resource Centers has sampled job descriptions that you can download if you are wanting to help your end clients help take better care of their data. Our Cybersecurity resource center has a client cybersecurity presentation that you can access. So, whether it's talent or cybersecurity, these two resource centers can help you really engage and do something that you're planning to do related to those topics. So, anytime you wanna move forward, check these out to see if we have a resource that support your efforts. Now, the next topic in this section is RIA Connect. Now, this is a resource that, like me, came to Schwab from TD Ameritrade. And RIA Connect is a really great resource to be able to access because it's an online networking platform. It gives you the opportunity to connect with people or advisors that can help really elevate your firm. You might be looking for new talents of people to join your firm in a variety of roles, maybe next gen talent. You might be looking for advisors or other firms to connect with for succession or M&A, whatever the case may be, RIA Connect is a great platform because it's easy to use, it's as anonymous as you want it to be. You don't have to share your information until you're ready to do so, and it's available for no extra cost as part of the platform. Maybe the best part about RIA Connect is that it actually works. I've heard several stories of firms hiring talented people and getting deals done because of connections that they made through RIA Connect. Now, the third topic, the third resource that I want to share inside of this take action section is our Affinity Services program. So far, everything that I've been sharing is designed to help you learn or take action on your own but sometimes you wanna lean on someone else. Sometimes you might not have the bandwidth or maybe you wanna lean on someone else's expertise in a certain area. And that's where Affinity Services becomes a really great fit. First of all, the providers listed in Affinity services provide preferred pricing for Schwab clients, and they help you tackle a variety of topics from operations to compliance to legal. Now, last in this section, I want to share about our virtual practice management platform or because we love our acronyms, VPM. Now, our VPM platform is one that we have been we creating and and building on for years. It's been available for quite a while and we continue to add courses to it. Because as we see opportunities to help you with your practice management, we continue to refine and deliver courses that are designed for firms like yours. Now, like the other resources that I mentioned, these courses are informed by our consulting work and by insights that are gained from our broader business consulting and education team. I wanna share a little bit more about what it looks like to engage with a VPM program. One of the best things about these VPM courses is that they are designed to help you help it be clear how to tackle a specific topic. They start with fundamental learning about that topic, just kind of the essentials that you might need to know to get started or to start to make decisions about what to do related to that topic inside of your firm. And then as you make those decisions, these courses also build in support for execution, helping you figure out how to implement, how to really do something with the decisions that you're making. And as you follow the path that's laid out for you inside of these courses, you might encounter videos, for example that are helping you learn a little bit about the topic. These videos often are just two to three minutes that you might see articles. There are maybe even just one page. All designed to really engage with on your terms and at your convenience. But whatever the resource is, they're all designed to help you find your biggest opportunities as a firm. And the each of these courses includes a range of materials that helps you really move forward, take action on the insights that you're gaining without having to look elsewhere. Now, as an example, one of the VPM programs that we released most recently was about client referrals. Now, this is a topic that as, as a consulting team, we've been working with advisors on, and it's something that in our most recent benchmarking study, advisory firms of all sizes told us that this is one of their top strategic priorities. So, we knew that we had a great opportunity to add a little bit more value to help you tackle this topic even more productively. Not just take more productive action, but get even better results. My favorite thing though, about the client referrals VPM program is the assessment that's built into the workbook 'cause that assessment will make it easy for you to respond to a few questions about best practices related to client referrals but at the end of that assessment, you're presented with a prioritized list of opportunities to tackle that are specific to your firm. If you've already nailed some of the fundamentals, you'll see at the top of the list something that's a little bit more advanced to work on. But either way, this assessment will provide kind of a little bit more of a customized roadmap to help you tackle this topic really productively. And now, when you're really ready to dive in, really ready to engage with a particular topic, maybe invest a little bit more time but make sure to really make some significant progress, this next resource may be a great fit for you. And this resource is our practice management cohorts. You can think of these cohorts as topic specific short-term study groups. And they're all built around two concepts, content and connection. The content comes in the form of our VPM programs. They're the foundation for the work that you do inside of these cohorts. But our practice management cohorts layer on additional support on top of VPM and that's comes in the form of meetings. You get to meet with peers that are working on the same topic as well as a senior consultant, whether it's business management or technology based on the topic. Now, if you're anything like me, it can also maybe be a little too easy to avoid moving forward or making progress on a certain topic. So, there's also accountability built into these programs to either help you get started or continue to make progress as you go along. Maybe the thing that we've heard, some of the best feedback about is the opportunity for you to network with your peers. We hear over and over that there is a real appetite for advisors getting to network more with each other. And in addition to the conversations that advisors have inside of these cohorts, we've seen frequently that they have shared contact information and continue to connect with each other offline, which because it's so valuable to have a network of people who are encountering and successfully tackling some of the same challenges that you are. Now, as an example of our practice management cohorts, I want to share about our cybersecurity cohort. This is a topic that we know is extremely important in our industry. It's one that is impacting your end clients. It's also has a huge effect on the advisory firms that support them because fraudsters are targeting your clients. It will have an impact on how you're engaging with clients and there can be an impact from that on your firm as well. And because of all of those threats, the regulators have a lot of attention on cybersecurity. So, we knew that it wasn't enough to just provide information or raise awareness about this topic, we wanted to support your ability to have a detailed plan for what to do at your firm related to cybersecurity. So, when you sign up to participate in the cybersecurity cohort, that's exactly what we're aiming to do. Drive toward a plan that's customized for your situation at your firm. And when you sign up for the cohort, the first thing that we ask you to do is to complete Cyber 101, our first VPM course on cyber security. And that course is designed to help you evaluate your firm's cyber infrastructure. From there, you then participate in a meeting that includes your peers that are working on the same topic, and in this case, a senior technology consultant from Schwab. In that meeting, you get to chat with your peers, learn about what they're dealing with, learn about how they've designed some of their approaches to cybersecurity, and get questions answered based on some of the topics that came up in the VPM course that you reviewed. Now, as you kind of continue through this program, you continue to consume more content, you are really taking action in connection with the VPM courses because Cyber 201 is designed to help you complete an assessment of your firm's cybersecurity. And then Cyber 301 helps you build on that assessment. That's, again, giving you specific feedback about your firm. And then Cyber 301 helps you turn those assessment results into a detailed action plan for your firm cybersecurity. And all the way along you are meeting with your peers, talking with a Schwab consultant to make sure that you are understanding all the concepts correctly, focusing on the right areas, and taking the the most appropriate and practical steps for your specific situation. Now, I certainly wanna mention that this is our most concentrated cohort because there is a lot under the cybersecurity umbrella. That's the beauty of VPM and these cohorts is they help you break down these topics, help make sure that you have a clear, easy path to follow to figure out what to do, and we help you make sure that you're on the right track with really practical steps that are appropriate and designed for your situation at your firm. Now, we do have other cohorts as well. I, for example, just finished facilitating our website cohort and the folks that participated in that program came to a variety of conclusions and started making, in some cases pretty substantial changes. One firm is actually overhauling their website based on some of the realizations they got in that cohort. And another decided to just update the images on their website because they saw that they weren't connecting with their ideal prospect. With all that in mind, we are just happy to be able to meet you where you are with a range of resources. And having shared all of that from our guiding principle series insight papers to our practice management cohorts, I can only imagine that was a lot to take in because it felt like a lot for me to say. But what I would encourage you to do is, is not worry necessarily about getting your arms around all of those resources right away. I would just pick one. There might have been one that jumped out at you as being a topic or a type of resource that you're really interested in engaging with. Start there. But if you're not sure, I mentioned earlier that we have a tool that can help you identify where might be the most productive place for you to start at your firm. And that tool is something that we call our guiding principles assessment. You can find that also through our RIA ed center. And it gives you an opportunity to answer several questions and it will point you to the topics or the areas that might be most productive for you to start with at your firm. And it's gonna give you the top three for you to look at and we're not just gonna tell you which topics might be productive for you to look at, we're also gonna give you resources right inside of the report that you get immediately after completing the assessment. And again, that report is gonna point you to resources that will help you get started on the topics that have your attention at the moment. Now, as a reminder, if you have questions along the way, please reach out to us. Again, virtual practice firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to get your feedback, look to get your questions and have an opportunity to guide you to resources that might be helpful or share some guidance related to the questions that have your attention at the moment. But wherever you're at in your practice management journey, again, thank you for your time today and we look forward to connecting with you in the future.