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Practice Makeover: Season 1

Episode 5: Checking in on Trent Bradshaw

Apr 21, 2014 @ 12:00 am

Runtime: 11:54

InvestmentNews checks back in with Season 1's makeover recipient, Trent Bradshaw, to see how his practice is doing and get his thoughts on the experience of having his practice made over.

Your Practice Partner

Valuable information and assets provided by OppenheimerFunds, this season's sponsor of Practice Makeover.

Your Practice Partner

Practice Management tips and commentary on the first season of Practice Makeover, brought to you by OppenheimerFunds.

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Put Pressure On Systems, not People

We too often throw bodies at the problem without fixing the underlying issues. Instead if hiring superheroes to run a chaotic business, create a systemic practice where everyone can thrive.

How to grow your practice in today's complex marketplace

There are two fundamental business models for organizing your business: A sales business model, or a professional practice. Paul Blease, Director of CEO Advisor Institute at OppenheimerFunds walks through the major differences and issues.

Don't allow yourself to become digitized, marginalized or off-shored

Don't allow yourself to become digitized, marginalized or off-shored.

Control Access

Controlling access allows you to plan, prepare and execute on meaningful consultation with your best clients while creating capacity to manage and grow your business.

Video Transcript

Welcome to this Google Hangout check-in for a Practice Makeover. Our first season with adviser Trent Bradshaw. Trent from wonderful Salsbury, North Carolina. Who really helped us take our first peek inside an adviser's practice. Trent, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for your participation in the first season of Practice Makeover. Thank you Matt. Glad to be here. Trent, although I know you made a lot of great progress even since our last check-in. So I wanted to kind of get started and find out, how things are going? So far so good. We've actually hired or extended the offer, to the registered sales assistant. So from a human capital standpoint like I say, we've got the first person in place. Our next step is to go Associate Wealth Adviser. And I know human capital was really a first step that Robert had focused on. Because once that problem is solved and, and handled. A lot of the other things would fall into place. So, have you started to go through that checklist. And started to, to knock some more things off? We have. The next step is to pull a delegate. And, assign responsibilities to each person in the, in the firm that we're in. And, that will entail you know, designating a computer operator all the way through office manager. Going to the Registered Sales Assistant, and also the Associate Wealth Adviser. But we want clear boundaries on what everybody's duty is. Now obviously we want some cross training in certain areas. But those clear boundaries should help us focus on, on reaching the goals. Now that's interesting, you mentioned boundaries. And I know it's something we talked about, right before we ran the last episode. In that blog we wrote. You've also really made it clear about the numbers of hours you want each person at your firm working. I do. I don't want it to extend past 40-50 hours a week. More appropriate to be 40. Because I do think family is important. And that's one struggle we've had as a firm over the last eight years. And that's one thing I definitely want to improve on going forward. And I think having these extra folks in place. And also, having the assignments designated to certain job descriptions, will help. Quality of life was paramount to everything. Was the reason we came down. It was issue number one. Are you seeing that change in quality of life for you? And are you really seeing it for your staff as well? I am. I am. It's again a slower process than we had hoped. Again, we found the right people to bring in. So, I think we're gonna accelerate that transformation at this point. Again the, the next step is to have those procedures and separation of duties completed. Now, one of the interesting innovations of this entire project has been the renovation room. Which is good and bad. If you could give some advice to our next candidate for Practice Makeover, regarding the renovation room. What were some of the things you perhaps would share with that person? Well, one of the main concerns I had before we even started this project, was the criticism that obviously we opened ourselves up to. That criticism, some positive, some negative. We just took this constructive, constructive criticism. And, and applied it to try to improve on what we're doing. Now, we did choose Platinum as our corporate coach. I just felt like they were the best fit for our firm. That may not be true for someone else. But for the, for us, they were. And I've looked at a lot of the responses from other corporate coaches that are out there. And also from other advisers. And again, we've taken it as constructive criticism. And tried to apply some of those changes. And we've talked to Platinum, about some of those issues. So again, not all of them came back to where we could use some of those critiques that they made on our firm. But, we're trying to apply as much as we can. And what I would say for the next candidate that you work with, is just have an open mind. Because not all of it's gonna be positive. If it's not positive, no big deal. Try to put a positive spin on it. And apply, apply change to your firm. To maybe help that be additional advice for you. Now you guys are seeing results already. And it's results that, obviously we hope will carry through, through this year. Through next. But, are you seeing hard number results? Are you seeing increase in productivity already? We have. We're actually about 40% ahead of where we were in 2013. Wow. Which is pretty amazing. Because again, we haven't got that first person in the door. She will start in the next couple of weeks. But I can imagine what's gonna happen once we get that human capital taken care of. And we're able to apply, again more efficiency in the office. [SOUND]. Now it, it's interesting cuz I thinking seeing that change is gonna really help. And it's gonna enlighten things as you kinda add people. And, and that, that's really critical. Was there some constructive criticism from the renovation room. That you looked and said, this isn't right for us. But perhaps it could be something that, that did seem really smart to you too. Sure, I mean it, it, there were corporate coaches that recommended using group meetings for leverage. To, to gather and, and more time for you personally. And then also for the firm, also. I, I am not sure that, that a group setting as far as presentation set on a quarterly basis. Is appropriate for the folks that I work with. I enjoyed meeting with them one on one. And it does take more time. It could be a, a little less frustrating if we did group meetings and had everybody in on a quarterly basis. Utilize that as the quarterly review. It makes sense. But in my case I just don't think it fits. And again that's why I chose Platinum. And, and based on their philosophy. Mm-hm. Well a, as the show's executive producer I can say without a doubt, there was things that we shot that didn't necessarily make it Into the final production. And I wish we could have shown everybody everything. There was some great things in there. But one of the things that really stood out, was how you worked with your clients. And I know there was a, there was a lot of feedback about, well it's easy just, you know, cut out the bottom portion you have broken. That's how you're gonna make more money. But the truth is, I saw the passion that you had. With each and everyone of your clients. I mean it's, it was just, it really stood out the, the way you worked with your clients. And and and these people aren't, you're part of this community. You're not necessarily gonna start chopping people that, that, and some, some of these people have been with you for years. I've met people that you're, you'd played you know, little league with their kids. [LAUGH]. You know, this is, this is a community. It's not necessarily just about client to client. That's right. Basically, what we're doing. We're not gonna let any clients go. We've gotta make sure our blue collar clients, and white collar clients. Not necessarily focusing on either one. We enjoy working with the folks that we currently work with. And we hope, going forward, that we can mimic some of those clients to build our practice. But again, you, you touched on it. That's why we're adding the Associate Wealth Adviser when they come in. We're gonna utilize that Associate Wealth Adviser to take some of the other accounts that you know, may be of lower dollar amounts. And we're gonna make sure we apply that same level of service to them also. Again, they've been with me from the start. And we're gonna be with them, hopefully for many years to come. And, as a sidelight, it's, it's interesting. My, my crew and I got the opportunity to spend multiple days with Trent and his team. And when we were on our way home, I turned to my producer Matt Bleistein and said it to. So would you, would you use, [INAUDIBLE] Trent as your, as your advisor? And he said that, without a doubt, yes he would He would pick you as an advisor. I consider that a high compliment. Cuz he's a, he's sometimes a tough nut to crack. So. [LAUGH]. He was, he was highly impressed by you and your team. Well the, the biggest point that, that Platinum explains to us, is you've gotta have chemistry between you and the client. Or prospective client that's sitting across the desk from you. And in our position. And I've read several articles through Investment News, that talk about the relationship between the adviser and the client. And if you don't have the chemistry. If you don't have that, that relationship that's gonna carry for long term, then it's probably not gonna work. And that's what we shoot for. We shoot for having that personal relationship. One on one relationship. And you talked about the renovation room. I'm not sure some of those strategies that they're recommending will accomplish that. Right. Right. And I, I think the other thing that's difficult sometimes to experience and understand is, that the show shows about 30, 40 minutes of time. But in reality Robert knew, or worked together for a much longer period of time you know, off-camera. There's a lot of things that we shot that didn't necessarily make the program. And there, it, there's just a lot more. And it's, it's easy to criticize and it's harder to kind of see, you know, that was just what was shot for the, for the show itself. Well this is a process about getting better. As a team, as a firm To the clients. Mm-hm. And I think you can always try to strive to improve. Once we get there and we get the positive feedback. And we maintain positive feedback from everyone that we work with. And I think we've reached our goal. Hopefully if, if that occurs and it continues to occur. We continue to grow. As we continue to grow, we add additional people into the firm. It's a simple solution going forward. I have learned my lesson when it comes to the human capital side of it. Now, for you guys too, another thing that obviously stood out on the program was, was you moved into a new office, a much bigger office. Have you gotten some feedback from that, from clients? What, what, what's been their immediate reaction to all that? Well, very positive feedback. We, we gave it a local flare. Some of the decor here, highlights our city our county. In addition to that, we have educational room on site that we can hold 24 to 30 people in. So we can do presentations here. We're gonna be doing those more often. We want our clients to become even more engaged than what they are right now. Or give them the opportunity to be engaged. So, they're very excited about it. We have an additional 4,000 square feet that we can expand into. I'm excited about that also. We're gonna be able to bring some additional people and professionals inside the building with us. So hopefully, we can have relationships where we can refer back and forth. And everybody has a reciprocal opportunity there. And another thing that didn't get seen in the show, mainly for time reasons, was, was the great relationship now that you're able to build with your CPA partner. Who's right there in the office space with you. It is. Brent, Brent's been a great friend of mine for somewhere around six to seven years. We, we met, once we decided to go independent. We ended up signing up with the same firm. Again, we've had a great relationship of, referring clients back and forth. It's worked very well. We do have a vision of trying to expand even more in bringing additional CPAs under the same roof. And also advisers. So again, we're wanting to make this a, a one stop shop. Or wanting to make it a very, well known financial destination in Salisbury. Well, Trent. It's been our pleasure to work with you. Thank you so much for taking the time to be part of the first season of Practice Makeover. And really setting a high bar now for all the other advisers who come along. And, and hopefully the changes that we hope to help, help advisers make. So thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of this with us. Well Matt, I wanna say thank you, too. It's, it's been a process. But I think it's been a good one. It's been a learning experience for us. And I'm excited about the improvement to come. And I hope you'll check back in, and see how we're, we're doing towards the end of 2014. So we can share that good news with you. Absolutely, absolutely. Well this has been our pleasure. And thank you so much Trent again, for being a part of this. For Investment News, I'm Matt Ackermann. [SOUND] [BLANK_AUDIO]


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Over the last 15 years, InvestmentNews has heard - and told - the stories of thousands of advisers. Now we are going one step further: InvestmentNews is now working with some of the industry's top coaches to identify advisory firms that are in need of a "Practice Makeover". Our mission with this exclusive show is to help advisers take their practices to the next level - while providing our audience with practice takeaways that they can apply to their own businesses.

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