I'm Tara Unverzagt. I'm President of South Bay Financial Partners. We're located in Torrance, California, in the L.A. area. I started my business in 2014, as my family business was starting to close down after I had been working there for over 25 years. I decided in my new business I wanted to focus on 20- to 35-year-olds, but then when the family business closed down, I ended up importing a lot of clients who are in the 70- to 95 range, and I had to figure out how to bring these two groups together and have a successful business going forward.
I first decided to get involved with Virtual Practice Management because I was taking a lot of courses and doing a lot of research to make my company more efficient. We had way more work than we had time to do it. What I found was because they know RIAs and how we work, they really made it clear how to make our business more efficient, and gave us very practical applications that we could use that have been very, very helpful.
They are very good about going through every step, and having worksheets and videos to really make you understand not only what to do, but why you want to do it. And they went the step further that I had never seen before, which is bringing all of that information into a financial planning world, into an RIA's world, and how that applies within here. It actually sort of reminds me of dealing with my 20- to 35-year-old clients, who read blogs, read books, all of this financial stuff to try to learn things, but they still have the remaining question, 'How does that information apply to me? I understand that, but I don't know how it applies to me?'
One of the things I liked about the program was that it was virtual, it was online, it was self-paced, you could do whenever you wanted to, whenever it fit into your schedule. And I was able to bring back to my business real applications that changed the way we did our work. And when I saw those changes, it encouraged me to go ahead and take that next course, so that I could see what else I could learn and apply today in my business.
One aspect of the course was a webinar that brought all the advisors who are working on this course together with a Schwab business consultant to lead us through what we had just experienced and how to integrate it, which brought up things in other businesses, best practices and questions, and applications that were applicable to me, too, that I hadn't thought about.
I'll be keeping my eye out for future courses, too, because I have learned from this that I definitely improve what I do, and my business improves and my staff improves if we spend a little bit of time working on the business and not just the work.
Growing an advisory is hard work, and we strive to be better and better all the time. These courses really help identify exactly where you're trying to go and gives you the tools to help you get there.