How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor Network for You

Starting a business can be a lonely endeavor. While it’s great to be your own boss and to be able to work on your terms, sometimes it’s nice to have a bit more of a support system around you. Even when you know what you’re doing, there will always be situations that make you wish you could access a second opinion.

Those moments of loneliness or needing a gut check are when a network can really come in handy. And for financial advisors, this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as what a professional network can do for you!

Should I Join A Financial Advisor Network?

Joining a financial advisor network is a big decision to make. While there are many benefits, there is a cost involved so you’ll want to make sure you choose wisely.

As to whether or not you should join an advisor network, the answer will depend on what you’re looking for as you start and grow your business. An advisor network can help you with a lot of the initial startup and compliance requirements you’ll deal with as an advisor. But the network can also help you build a client base.

If you’re in a position in which you already have a steady influx of clients and your business operations and client processes are set up and running smoothly, then you may not need to join an advisor network.

But if you would like help with your operations, processes, client-building, and generally having more of a community around you, then an advisor network can provide you with support in all of those areas and more. It’s a way to take some of the hassle and loneliness out of running your own financial advisory firm.

What Are the Fees?

No matter what kind of business you create, you can’t escape the fact that it takes money to make money. And startup costs can often be more than you expect.

This is definitely true of what happens when you decide to become a financial advisor. From startup costs to compliance to marketing and more, that first year of your business can be quite expensive.

This is where financial advisor networks come in. Although they charge a fee for membership, they can actually save you a ton of money on all the other startup related expenses you have to pay to become a financial advisor. The question is, which network is most cost efficient for you?

Like all other financial decisions, you’ll know what’s right when you weigh the costs versus the benefits. But look beyond the initial fees. When you crunch the numbers for the first year as compared to what they’d be over the next few years of your business, you’re likely to see a dramatically different amount. Consider the big picture and the qualitative considerations, like what you think you’ll need the most support on (and thus what may be more worth paying more for).

Making the number crunching all the more important, every financial advisor network charges their fees differently. Depending on the network, you may see a combination of initial registration, annual, and/or monthly fees. Some also reduce membership fees after you’ve been a member for some time. Make sure you’re analyzing costs for year one and also for year five.

What Are the Features?

Onto the fun part: talking about the features! Some things you can expect from various financial advisor networks:

Compliance assistance
NAPFA Membership
Training materials and coaching
Website profile page
Marketing support and greater access to clients
An established brand standing behind you as you grow your brand

These are only a few of the many benefits you can receive when you join an advisor network. While things like compliance assistance can save you time and money, a brand to stand by and a website profile page can save you time, money, and hassle. Few people starting their own businesses set out to become marketing experts, but not having good marketing skills can seriously impede your growth.

In fact, as you may have already discovered, there’s a lot more to growing a financial advisory firm than just giving great advice. You have to become the CEO, CTO, CMO, and COO of your firm: all skills which could take years to develop. But if you leverage a financial advisor network to assist you in all those areas, then you can focus on what you do best: providing financial advice.

What Are You Looking to Get Out Of It?

As you start researching different financial advisor networks, you might find some difficulty in differentiating them from each other. How do you know which one makes more sense financially and from a business growth perspective? How do you know which one makes the most sense specifically for you?

In order to answer these questions, decide on the one thing you most want to get out of affiliating with a network. Do you want help with regulatory tasks like compliance? Do you need help finding clients and marketing your firm? Do you most want to find a support network that will be available to you for advice and guidance?

Once you’ve prioritized the reasons why you think your business can benefit from joining a network, then it will be a lot easier to discover which financial advisor network is going to be right for you. Yes, cost is a huge thing to consider, but more important is all the qualitative stuff that can’t be boiled down to dollars and cents. There are so many things that go into a successfully starting and running a financial planning business – make a decision that will give you support where you need it the most.

Remember, it takes money to make money. But when you think long-term and spend your money wisely, you can get closer to achieving the successful financial planning business you’ve always wanted.

Image Credit: Padurariu Alexandru

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