Growth is not what you think it is

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

The biggest issue or challenge facing advisors globally is Growth. I do not think there will be 2 different opinions about this fact. This is a priority area even for the best firms and they devote significant energy, resources, and effort on growth every year. So, it comes as a surprise when some of you say, “I don’t want to Grow”. Some even go further and say, “I am happy where I am, and I don’t want more clients”. The key point people miss out here is that there is a difference between growing and not adding clients or assets and this is the focus of my post.

Coming from a financial planning first mindset, I understand the importance of values, goals, happiness and the “how much is enough” mindset. I respect that some of you might not want to add clients or assets and that is a personal choice. However, this has got nothing to do with Growth (Sorry, I make this point again, but I had to because it is so critical). Let me explain what I mean.

Let us say you do not want more clients or assets. However, this does not mean that your services should not get better. This does not mean your offering should not change or radically improve.  Growth impacts several dimensions of your business namely:

  • Services /Offering
  • Team
  • Competition
  • Survival
  • Creation of Business Value
  • Transfer of that Value

Growth can mean different things here and for a team member it could mean opportunity. Why will an intelligent and smart person work with you when they see no opportunity for growth? Why will someone join you if you are not passionate to even grow as a professional? How will you be able to afford real talent? This explains the poor quality of talent at most firms. People calmly acknowledge that we can never have good talent and I fail to understand why.

Another dimension of growth is Competition. If you are not growing as a professional and your offering remains what it was in 2000 or 2005, you have not grown even if your assets have gone up or you are using some software now. You have become weak than you were in 2005 or earlier. Imagine if you were to start again right from scratch, would you do the same things you had done back then? I doubt that. Thus, it is extremely necessary to protect yourself from competition and Growth is that antidote that allows you to Survive Competition, to be at your best/sharpest and to delight your clients. Think of the giants of yesteryears such as Nokia, and Blackberry. Were they not growing in revenue? They were growing revenue wise, but they were not growing in terms of mindset, skills, fast decision making and the necessary business model innovation. They felt they did not need to change just because they were growing in a single dimension of revenue. So, a big part of growing and growth is about CHANGE (even when things are working just fine). 

In this business, the value comes not just from the number of clients and revenue. It comes from the depth of your relationship with a client, whether you have 100% of client assets, your team skills, the systems & processes, overall client acquisition capability, marketing ability and some additional ones. If you have 100% of the client assets, this means there is no other competitor vying for your client’s attention. Yes, people will keep trying from outside but there is no one sitting inside like when you have even 50% of the client assets and the 50% belongs to someone else. Thus, to even create business value and transfer it in a meaningful way, you should have a growth mindset and orientation. No one wants to buy a business that is not growing and even if someone does, he or she will realize the folly shortly. You cannot rely on fools buying the business because even if they do, they will beat the hell out of your clients to recover any money paid to you. 

Thus, you need to think about growth in a holistic way and yes, growth is necessary for all of us. Everything is connected to Growth as can be seen in the sketch below.

Before you say again “I don’t want to grow”, do think again on every dimension that growth impacts. 

There is no real excuse for not growing and everyone must grow in terms of Mindset, Skills, Behaviour, Decision Making and finally in terms of their Business to survive, to remain relevant and finally to thrive.

You do not have a choice. Make a Choice or the Choice will be made for you.