In many cases, the laborious task of finding the right platform for your firm to work with can feel like being the princess who must kiss a series of frogs before one reveals itself as her Prince Charming. Just as in that story, both parties are in search of the fairytale ending of finding partners who can stand the test of time.
Today there are ways to research and vet any firm you see a potential future with, but there are also important things to consider that researching online or on LinkedIn wont tell you. To spare you the plight of the princess in your search for the right advisory platform to partner with, here are five tried and trusted steps you can take to find the right match for your company.
ONBOARDING AND TRANSITIONING WILL SET THE TONE FOR EVERYTHING
Make sure that all players from both entities are involved in the onboarding and transition process as you become acquainted with any new platform. Make it your business to get to know your new counterparts on a deeper level from day one, and dont be shy. You want to avoid any unwanted surprises down the line and demonstrate your intent to build an authentic relationship from the outset. This will help you to determine early on if the service provider youve chosen can deliver upon the promised vital benefits to your business. If its not proposed by the platform youve chosen, suggest an early meeting to establish the tone and find ways to set check-in points with all key players to ensure that the agreed-upon dynamic is being upheld.
SHARED VALUES MATTER
Seek out a like-minded team to work with who embody the same values as you. Foundational values matter considerably, and you dont want to waste time trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Simply put, it will never work long term if your core beliefs, priorities and goals are out of alignment. Make sure that theres time and space to have discussions about these important elements of the vision for your business. And remember that these shouldnt be a chore; they should be inspiring, collaborative conversations about future growth and opportunities. If the relationship is the correct one, it should feel organic and natural.
SAY NO TO BRILLIANT JERKS
When you meet someone who has an incredibly impressive resume, can speak at an expert level on a variety of topics relevant to your business and has had awe-inspiring success in the past, despite all those qualities, you might have raised an eyebrow because it sounds too good to be true. Check to make sure if it is. If someones keener on wowing you with their accomplishments and tends to diminish you and what youve accomplished, its time to ask for the check and lose their phone number. The correct partnership should elevate you, not attempt to minimize your efforts, no matter the power dynamic. Make note of how many times they turn the conversation over to you and inquire further about your firms strengths, and of their ability to actively listen to others.
BEWARE OF THE CONTROLLING TYPE
If youre joining a new firm, beware of executives who present exceedingly high standards and respond with extreme criticism when those standards arent met. While it is of course important that all aspects of the work are being accomplished accurately and effectively, this culture of control without counsel isnt one to bet on for the long run. Save yourself the heartache; when you recognize that everything must be this team or this persons way or the highway, and let them know the highway is wide open.
Dont underestimate the importance of choosing a partner whos gracious and kind. This is evident in how they treat their own staff and clients, and in how they treat you when the road gets bumpy. Its easy to be nice in the beginning during the honeymoon phase, but make sure the person doesnt default to inconsiderate and spiteful behavior when times get tough. Ask them about past challenges and the ways they handled those obstacles to get a better sense of how your future conflicts with this person may unfold.
The bottom line here for firms in search of a true partnership with an advisory platform: Remember that you dont have to sacrifice your values to find the right partner to support the vision and goals of your business. While there are important lessons to be learned from the trial and error thats an inherent part of finding any business partner, using these tips to check your own biases and beliefs will help you to avoid learning the same lessons repeatedly.Because when you do your homework and listen closely to your intuition as you vet potential platforms to marry your business to, the ideal platform partner youve been waiting for will eventually present themselves, and youll live happily ever after.