Skip to main content

What does growth mean to you?

September 29, 2022
clock 2 MIN READ

I’ve discovered two things about growth. First, it’s a loaded term. Second, it means different things to different people.

When I was consulting on my own, the advisors I worked with wanted growth. For them, it largely had positive implications. Now that I’m asking the question as an employee of SEI, the tone has changed.


How advisors understand growth

We’ve been conducting client research in the form of interviews to better understand what our advisors need and want when it comes to practice management—which we define as the best practice and activity of working on and managing an advisory business. 

So far, the answers have been enlightening. If I had to summarize what I’ve heard so far, I’d say that to these advisors, growth is about amplifying one’s impact and serving more clients in a better way. Not what I expected, but I love it!

Is growth actually necessary?

However, I’ve also heard a lot of hesitation (dare I say apprehension) when it comes to growth. In short, there’s a suggestion that growth kills capacity. One advisor likened it going to lunch and knowing you need to eat but not being hungry—an apt analogy for what growth can feel like.

Here’s the thing: However you define growth, it is necessary.

Imagine you launched your advisory business 15 years ago and didn’t evolve some aspects of the business, add assets and revenue, or work on the business—it’s likely you wouldn’t be in business today.

The fear of the unknown can be greater than the known. Lacking capacity, investing time or money into growth with no guaranteed results, and doing things you’ve never done before are scary. (Sorry, no one said this was going to be easy!)  

There are a few keys to making growth a friend instead of a foe:

  1. Have a plan. Our Business Planning Toolkit can help.
  2. Don’t do it alone. Connect with others who have been there or can help you through the journey, such as advisor communities, mentors, coaches, and consultants.
  3. Celebrate each step in your progress, no matter how small.

Growth will mean different things to you depending on whether you run a solo, ensemble, or enterprise practice and are at the beginning, middle, or end of your career. Just make sure you define what it means to you and don’t let someone else define if for you—or worse, don't avoid it altogether.

Shauna Mace, CHPC

Head of Practice Management

More ideas from the lab