Erin Botsford built a seven figure firm from scratch and shares exactly how she did it.
As one of the top financial advisors in the country, she is the founder and CEO of the Botsford Financial Group, which has nearly $1 billion in assets under management. She has appeared on Barron’s list of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors and Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors multiple times. And she’s also an author who just released her second book, “Seven Figure Firm.”
But maybe more impressive than Erin’s resume is the hardship she had to overcome to get where she is today.
Erin was only 11 when her father died of a heart attack. The small life insurance policy he left behind made life very hard for Erin, her mother, and her five siblings. A car accident in her teenage years and a bad investment with a stockbroker in her early 20s put further strain on Erin’s family life and finances. These experiences taught Erin the value of comprehensive financial planning and asset protection, lessons she continues to impart to her clients.
Listen to the Seven Figure Firm Convo with Erin Botsford
On today’s show, Erin discusses her compelling story, the personal and financial lessons she took away from her adversities, and how she built her own seven figure firm from scratch.
Here are Erin’s big lessons for growing and managing your own seven figure firm:
1. Never stop prospecting.
Erin believes that “If a business isn’t growing, it’s dying.” There’s no magic number of clients to hit that will keep your business healthy forever. Some clients might decide to take their business elsewhere, some might move out of state, some will die. Attrition is just a natural part of being a financial advisor. Looking for new prospects is one part of the business that never stops. As important as the internet and digital media are to your marketing, Erin still believes in getting face time with clients and prospects at lunches and seminars. She also places a lot of emphasis on consistent branding that shows prospective clients what is unique about her approach to managing their finances.
2. Think like the boss, not like a salesperson.
When was the last time your dentist cleaned your teeth? Probably never. Because that’s the hygienist’s job.
Your business is no different. Being the boss is not the same as doing everything. Good bosses delegate. For example, Erin does not personally oversee any client accounts. She leaves the day-to-day operations to her staff so that she can focus on growing the business and other essential CEO tasks.
To figure out if you’re doing too much, ask yourself this question: If you took a 30-day vacation, what would happen to your business? If your business would stop, then you ARE your business, and that’s not a good thing.
3. Create systems that facilitate success.
Your business really relies on one trusted employee who keeps everything running. She can do everything from fulfill orders to organize birthday cards for all your clients. She basically carries all your company’s key operations around in her head, and executes everything perfectly.
And then her husband gets seriously ill and she’s out of the office for four months.
That’s what happened at Erin’s first company. When that key employee had to take a leave of absence, the business stalled. It’s important to have employees you can rely on, but it’s just as important to have systems in place that underlie all of your company’s activities. People change jobs, people go on vacation, people catch the flu on busy days. Having a good system in place keeps business moving.
4. Leverage your team.
Once you know what you want to build, you have to put a team in place that will help you do the work. Erin takes great care to hire the best people, using Kolbe assessments and thorough face-to-face interviews. But she also makes sure she isn’t hiring people whose strengths are too much like her own. A strong workplace has a diverse talent set at its disposal. Thorough follow-up training gets all of Erin’s employees up to speed on the key systems that drive the business.
5. Practice personal discipline.
No two people have the same routine, but most successful CEOs stick to one. Erin’s work week starts at 6:00 pm every Sunday, reviewing the previous week, and preparing for the Monday morning meeting at her office. After that planning session Erin is diligent about executing everything on her to-do list for the week, and she insists her employees do the same. Finding your own routine will keep you and your business organized, focused, and on track to hit seven figures and beyond.
- Seven Figure Firm: How to Build a Financial Services Business that Builds Itself book by Erin Botsford
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It book by Michael Gerber
- Better Conversation, Better Outcomes podcast by BMO Global Asset Management
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Steve Sanduski, CFP®
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