SWOT analysis

When Was the Last Time You Did a SWOT Analysis – On Yourself?

By Sal Tiano

You likely did them for school, but have you done one for yourself? Creating a SWOT analysis for companies and business strategies was a common requirement in many core business classes. Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats were necessary steps in business strategy analysis.  But for all the SWOT analysis exercises you did in school, how many have you done for your own practice, or even for yourself?

The fact is, advisors with thriving elite practices have learned to play to their strengths while mitigating their weaknesses. This requires actually knowing what those strengths and weaknesses are, and periodically checking in on them.

It is often difficult to realistically assess yourself. Sometimes we don’t recognize our strengths, or we downplay our weaknesses. This is a time when an outside coach can come in handy. If you don’t have a coach or mentor, you can ask a colleague or even your partner. Anyone who knows you, and whose judgment you trust, can act as a sounding board to help you pinpoint what you do really well and what you need to work on. Consider using popular publications to help you in your assessment; books like Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath can be a great place to start.

Many of the characteristics needed to build a successful wealth management business are the same as those needed to sustain a long-term friendship. We all have different strengths that we can leverage.  And while each advisor is different, there are a few qualities that stand out in those who reach the top. Consider whether any of these are strengths of yours:

  • Organization – As a practice grows, time-management skills will become crucial.
  • Economic soundness – Having a financial cushion enables a practice to survive the ups and downs of the market.
  • Focus – The industry has several niches. Advisors typically choose one or two, such as the business development side or the investment side, to focus on.
  • Leadership – An advisor with a growing practice will need to gather and lead a great team in order to work with affluent clients.

Once you know your strengths as an advisor, you can work to focus on those strengths while improving your weaknesses. While we love to identify and focus on our strengths – often the things we like best about ourselves – it’s just as important to understand where you can improve. You want to play to your strengths, but at the same time you can’t let your weaknesses drag you down. In fact, working on our weaknesses, either by improving on them directly or by hiring people who are strong in those areas, can have an even greater impact on our business.

When you take the time to really know yourself, you can then offer your best to your clients.