Advisers seeking to understand the value of their practices should think the way a private equity firm would when considering whether to invest in a startup, says David Canter, Fidelity executive vice president. "What niche or specialty do you have that your competition doesn't?" he said. "Being a fee-only adviser providing good client service isn't enough. What would make an investor interested in your business?"
You have several options when you're ready to leave your practice, writes Patrick Jinks. He explores the pros and cons of four options, including transferring your business to a family member, merging with another firm and selling your practice to a colleague.
Converting from paper to digital files can take time and money, but advisers who have done it say there are benefits. Marlo Stil, managing partner of Wealth Consulting Group, says her firm saves on compliance costs and staff time spent retrieving files, and it no longer needs an entire room for document storage.
Paul H. Auslander, the 2012 president of the Financial Planning Association, argues that financial-planning education should include more hours devoted to practice management. "Would an enhanced continuing education requirement, including practice management hours, ultimately benefit and better assure the public that there is a stated devotion to well-established businesses for the future generations needing financial planning services? It makes sense to me," he writes.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is providing the opportunity for people to create new top-level domains to join mainstays such as ".com" and ".org." This could be good for small businesses because many ".com" addresses are already taken, and it allows for more descriptive URLs, writes Kevin Wilson, who was previously a chief financial officer of ICANN. But there are already a number of unused top-level domains, notes Douglas J. Wood of Reed Smith.