Findbob is excited to present a short Q&A with Norm Trainor, President and CEO of The Covenant Group and an expert in coaching entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve their goals and realize the success they’ve always envisioned for themselves. Norm is a best-selling author focusing on topics that are relevant and essential to any independent financial services advisor looking to excel and grow in their business. In our Q&A with Norm, we focus on how important it is for entrepreneurs to set goals and engage in strategic planning to achieving the growth and success they envision for their businesses. Read below for Norm’s expert insights on how to achieve success, goal setting, and strategic planning for independent advisors.
FB: In your experience, what do you think is the biggest hurdle keeping independent business owners from achieving the success that they envision for their practices?
NT: Most business owners run their business "cash on cash". They are focused on the short term demands of running their business. In our experience, the single most important determinant of success in building a business is the timeframe or time span in which they plan and execute in building their business. In other words, successful business owners have a long term perspective. Every decision is based upon the impact it will have on the success and sustainability of the business over time.
FB: Obviously easier said than done for many business owners! How important is it for business owners to engage in formal strategic planning and goal setting, further than simply having a goal in their head?
NT: The mantra in business today is: "You have to do it yourself and you can't do it alone." Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a collective effort to build a business. Engaging others in a formal strategic planning process and goal setting harnesses the collective wisdom of those who will contribute to the growth and sustainability of the business. The business owner makes better decisions and can more effectively leverage the time, energy, creativity and intelligence of the important stakeholders in growing the business.
FB: That’s definitely an important piece of knowledge that would benefit those advisors who are currently looking to grow their businesses. Do you find that there is a large difference in the bottom lines of those entrepreneurs who engage in continuous professional development and goal setting and those that don’t? This might seem like an obvious question, but since a majority of entrepreneurs are not engaging in strategic professional development and goal setting on their own, what can prompt them to do so aside from the potential to earn more?
NT: High performers in sports, entertainment and business utilize coaches and advisors to take their results to a much higher level. I hired my first coach when I was 26 and the experience was transformative. We all benefit from perspective on our perspective. It leads to better decisions and more clarity with regard to what is important in our lives. The result is that you not only earn more money, but also spend more time doing what makes you happy. The rewards are intrinsic and extrinsic. It brings more focus and discipline to pursuing what is important to us personally and professionally.
FB: In your experience, how can engaging in planning and goal setting benefit a business owner in the long run? Obviously, you could consider the time spent on your own professional development and strategic planning as an investment that will return many times over in the future. However, since many business owners just aren’t doing this, what are some benefits that business owners could see in a shorter period of time?
NT: There is a direct correlation between the amount of income you earn and wealth you create and the timeframe or time span in which you plan and work. Having a clear vision of & strategy for what you want to achieve and become over the next ten years or more will enable you to reach new heights in your business and personal life. Your decisions are not simply driven by short term expediency. They are based upon having a well thought out vision and strategy for building a sustainable business that enables them to work at the level of significance.
FB: You’re really instilling the importance of having a long-term vision to ensure success! What is your best tip for an entrepreneur who has never set formal goals for themselves and doesn’t know where to start?
NT: The future drives the present, not the past. The clearer you are about your future direction, the more likely you are to achieve what is important to you. Take the time to answer the following questions:
- What role do you want to play in your business?
- How big do you want your business to become?
- What will be required in terms of capabilities and resources to realize 1 & 2?
Thank you Norm for taking the time to share your valuable insights about these topics! Goal setting and strategic planning are obviously an important aspect of achieving success as an entrepreneur. What we have found at Findbob is that a majority of independent financial services advisors are not engaging in formal goal setting and strategic planning, causing them to not fully realize the success they could obtain. As Norm said, it is important for entrepreneurs to think long-term and enlist the help of other professionals, such as coaches, who have the expertise and knowledge to get entrepreneurs to where they desire to be. The Covenant Group, led by Norm Trainor, has excellent resources for business owners and has a successful history in increasing productivity and profitability of independent financial services advisors.
Findbob is looking forward to launching our goals feature, which will provide users with the ability to select goals to work towards. These goals are presented to users in a step-by-step manner that are easy to digest and work on a little bit at a time. We understand that working towards certain goals, such as planning for a successful exit, are daunting and require plenty of work, which is why we designed our goals to be worked broken down and digested in small steps. Our goals are designed with you - the advisor - in mind, and are able to be incorporated in your day to day activities easily and with as little friction as possible. Keep an eye out for the announcement of our Goals feature and start thinking about what goals you have in mind for your own practice.