If you are looking for ways to accelerate your business growth, a best-practices exchange group may be the answer.
A best-practices exchange group is a fixed collective of financial advisors — ideally six to eight members — who meet regularly to discuss practice-management ideas. The group acts as a sounding board, providing a forum for advisors to discuss their various accomplishments and failures, says Sara Gilbert, founder of Strategist Business Development in Montreal. Ideally, the group would comprise advisors with varying levels of experience.
Here are three tips for starting and maintaining a best-practices exchange group:
1. Ask for a commitment
To be successful, your group should meet on a regular basis — anywhere from once a month to once a quarter. Each meeting should last about one or two hours. Often, these gatherings are held during a breakfast or lunch.
Make it clear that the group requires a commitment from each member and that attendance is mandatory, Gilbert says. To avoid overwhelming potential group members, ask for just a one-year commitment. If the group becomes a success, members may decide to continue after the first year.
Don’t let “dead weight” hang around the group longer than necessary. If any members “take” but never “give,” Gilbert says, you may consider changing the roster.
2. Put someone in the “hot seat”
Let members take turns asking for help by putting them in the “hot seat,” Gilbert says. The hot seat is a platform from which an advisor can ask the group for help with any issues they are facing in their business. The group responds by brainstorming solutions to the advisor’s problem.
Even if you can’t relate to a particular hot-seat issue, Gilbert says, you can gain tremendous insight by seeing how other members collaborate and share ideas.
3. Invite a speaker
Occasionally, you can bring new perspective to your meetings by inviting someone to address a particular topic.
For example, group members are keen to find ways to expand their business-development strategies on LinkedIn, you could invite a social-media expert to share some ideas.
This is the second part in a two-part series on seeking advice.