Moving a Few Miles can be as Difficult as Going Cross-Country…

Target Readers:

  1. Advisors struggling with change in their business.
  2. Advisors who are friends with Mike.
  3. Advisors who work with USA Financial.

Talking Points:

  1. Once you begin, you might as well keep the momentum going.
  2. Short-cuts are seldom short-cuts.
  3. Pruning & purging are liberating.

Here’s the Skinny,

I apologize for my recent absence.  Very unexpectedly, we have moved homes.

My two oldest are in college (so mostly out of the house), which leaves just me, my wife, and our youngest.  We had been halfheartedly (read as lackadaisically) looking for a new home over the past two years.  We were in no rush.  But then my wife stumbled onto a home she really liked and we could “see” ourselves in for many years to come.

And if you know the Walters, once a decision is made, we hit the gas pedal and get to high gear as quickly as possible.

Bang – bang real estate conditions in our area had a bit to do with the speed of things, but in a nutshell, we bought a new home in 24 hours and sold our existing home (of 15 years) in under 48 hours.  Bang – bang – done.  And to make things even more interesting, the previous owners of the home we purchased were relocating to Hawaii, so we bought their furniture as well.  Then the buyers of our home expressed a desire to buy our furniture as they were relocating from Chicago.  Bang – bang – done.

Its like we were in college all over again, throw the cloths in the car, bang – bang – done.

Or so I thought.  We soon learned, the traditional moving companies were not interested in “our small job” as there was no furniture involved.  That left us to do all the packing (not something we had anticipated) ourselves.  But the good news is that we were able to prune & purge 15 years of accumulated clutter.  This cut the moving job in half, literally.

In the end…

  1. It turned out that once we determined we were moving, it would have been just as easy (or easier) to tackle a full-on move, including the furniture.  I think many businesses underestimate this truth in managing their projects.  Once you green light a project, often times the small to mid-sized project isn’t any easier than the big monster project.  The hardest part is just starting and gaining momentum.
  2. Getting rid of clutter is good for EVERYONE.  Its liberating.  It increases productivity.  Satisfaction skyrockets.  And efficiency becomes the norm.  Again, I think many businesses (and advisors/executives/staff) overlook the need to prune & purge in order to keep focused on what really matters.

In that vein, below is a link to a great article from John Jones, Digital Marketing & Communication Manager at USA Financial.  He shares great insight on using Facebook as a marketing & seminar tool.  May I suggest you focus on John’s article while thinking how you could revamp, streamline and enhance your seminar/event marketing?

Here is the article link from July 24, 2018, Investment News, “Why advisors are turning to Facebook ads to fill seminar seats”.

I’ll be back at it with regular blogs and podcasts in August.

That’s the Skinny, 




How Advisors Get Left Behind (hint: it’s only by choice)

Target Readers:

  1. Advisors seeking growth and direction.
  2. Advisors struggling to adapt and change as the industry evolves.
  3. Advisors looking to increase profits and/or the value of their practice.

Talking Points:

  1. How has your business changed over the last 10 years?
  2. Do you wish to retire or transition, but your practice valuation is stifled?
  3. Are you continuing to nurture your business successfully?

Here’s the Skinny,

We’ve all heard before the statement, “the only constant is change”…

Take a moment to reflect upon your business 5 years ago, even 10 years ago. Was it exactly as it is today? Or is it dramatically different?

Many in our industry started out as agents in the insurance/annuity business or as registered reps in the securities business. Yet today, a primary focus is more often directed toward assets under management. But even that segment has evolved.

Years ago, many advisors were managing their own portfolios for investors, Rep as PM (portfolio manager) is the common terminology today. Yet, now, the Rep as PM model is dwindling as advisors embrace the scalability of using third-party asset managers and TAMP programs like USA Financial Exchange. Indirectly, this new model has solved two crucial problems for advisors…

  1. Asset gathering (not asset managing) is the revenue lifeblood of a retail practice.  The more time an advisor spends managing money, the less time they spend growing the practice and attracting new assets. Therefore, profits often go up in direct proportion to reduction in directly managing assets.
  2. Rep as PM and/or advisor managed portfolios, stifle the value of an advisor’s practice. They choke out scalability, which can crush the valuation of a practice (no buyer wants to buy “a job,” they want to buy “a business,” and it’s impossible to climb inside the head of the advisor managing the money), but the advisor focused on gathering assets can turnover their systems and processes along with the scalability of third-part asset management. Therefore increasing the valuation of the practice.

The point is, to use another true cliché, “if you aren’t growing you are dying.”

If you do not adapt and remain agile, eventually the marketplace may diminish your worth to the point of disaster. I am not a close follower of Sears, but it did not surprise me to see hundreds of stores closing. (Sears previously announced 166 stores to close this year. Now they’ve added 68 more to the list. There are less than half the Sears stores today as there were just 5 years ago.)

Strictly from my own consumer perspective, they do not appear to have kept pace with digital or online sales, their storefronts have fallen out of favor and seem out of touch with today’s shopper, and the few times I’ve wandered into a Sears store they struck me as being almost vacant on product and in a state of disrepair. At some point simple math will grind such a business to a halt.

Similarly, in our industry, think of the advisors who have not evolved. Conducting their business as if it’s from the 1980’s or 1990’s. Trying to live on commissionable products alone. It’s an uphill battle and we’ve all seen their decline. Business models need to adapt and evolve as the business changes… Or you end up feeling like Sears in an Amazon world.

So how do you stay ahead? Keeping your business on the cutting edge?

  1. You continually enhance your offerings and services, making yourself indispensable to the investor/client.
  2. You continually strengthen the relationship you maintain with the top 50% of your clients, targeting replication of the top 20% (not the bottom 80%).
  3. You automate and utilize technology to reduce the mundane and increase the culture, value, and experience of your staff.
  4. You monitor trends for the future valuation of your practice, which almost always will parallel the future appeal to new investors and clients.
  5. You run an “experience-based” business model that delivers an elite client experience. Not a discounted fee, or diminishing returns model.
  6. You affiliate with institutions that help you accomplish everything listed above.

Things are not the same…  Thank God…  Are you ready?

Everything can (and will) always get better and better with time, as long as you continue to nurture your business as if it is a loved family member. It’s a mindset. And the beautiful option is that you get to choose… Adapt and grow rather than decay and decline.

That’s the Skinny, 



USA Financial Trending Report – Second Quarter 2018

On April 1, 2018 we celebrated 30 years in Business at USA Financial. I’m assuming most who are reading this have not spent their career in the financial industry, so rather than focus on the minutia and details of “our” story… I’d like to share a few crucial high-altitude observations I’ve gleaned over 30 years of evolutionary corporate leadership (albeit, my leadership experiences are derived from steering a financial services holding company and its collection of synergistic subsidiaries).

Looking back, our growth falls in to 4 stages:

Cornerstone 1 – Walking Flatlands and Climbing Mountains

Cornerstone 2 – The Corporate Security Fallacy (aka Avoiding Valleys)

Cornerstone 3 – Give ‘Em What They Want, Followed by What They Need

Cornerstone 4 – Moonshots are Crucial

I wrote about each of these Cornerstones and my biggest breakthroughs and learning experiences in the latest USA Financial Trending Report. I invite you to take a look and hope you find the cornerstones valuable and entertaining. Next time I’ll get back on task with my financial writings.

That’s the “30-Year” Skinny,




Are you an Entrepreneur (or are you Self-Employed)?

Target Readers:

  1. Those trying to determine how they want their business to grow.
  2. Those who are not sure if they are an “income earner” or a “business builder.”
  3. Those who have hired staff and/or need to hire staff.

Talking Points:

  1. Most do not understand the difference between self-employed and entrepreneur.
  2. Do you want to build a great career?  Or a sustainable business?  Or both?
  3. Consider the lifestyle you desire before building your business model.

Here’s the Skinny,

Most of the world does not understand the difference between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur.

The vast majority of small businesses are comprised of self-employed individuals as opposed to entrepreneurs.  Yet, in error, many self-employed folks will refer to themselves as being entrepreneurs when they are not.

What’s the difference?  Well, let’s start with the definitions from

Self-Employed  [self-em-ploid]

Earning one’s living directly from one’s own profession or business, as a freelance writer or artist, rather than as an employee earning salary or commission from another.

Entrepreneur  [ahn-truh-pruh-nur]

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

As you can see, there is a distinct difference.

This month, USA Financial celebrates its 30th year anniversary and I’m blessed to have shared in the growth over all 30 years (except for the first 2-3 months anyway).  When I reflect back over those three decades, hindsight 20/20, for the first 2 years of USA Financial’s existence, we ran solo and were undoubtedly self-employed.  For the next 8 years we were a more sophisticated version of self-employed, as we had support staff, but we were not much different than a business manager who has gained success and respect enough to be assigned subordinate staff and/or personal assistants by their employer/boss.

It wasn’t until ten years into the life cycle of USA Financial that I can confidently reflect back and realize we transitioned from being self-employed to being entrepreneurs.  In fact, our turning point was a one-two punch beginning in 1998, when we…

  1. officially killed our business structure that emulated the financial services “external wholesaler” model and then;
  2. launched USA Financial Securities, our broker dealer.

Together, this combination of change required we reconstruct an entirely new business model (and strategy) that took two full years for us to completely re-tool, re-educate and re-deploy.  By year 2000, USA Financial was unrecognizable from its former self.

That was our watershed moment in time.  From 1998 to 2000 we transformed ourselves from being self-employed to being entrepreneurs…  And we’ve been growing ever since.

Someone who is self-employed is simply their own boss, working “in” the business.  Whereas an entrepreneur is building a sustainable business model that is not solely dependent upon them for the entity’s ongoing success – and therefore – they tend to spend more time working “on” the business (versus “in” the business).

In our case, the visual transition from self-employed to entrepreneur was dramatic.  Notice the permanent and dramatic change in our revenue growth line in 2001 vs. previous years.  Prior to 2001, we had minimal incremental increases as we worked hard and performed better at our jobs.  But in 2001, we started running an entrepreneurial organization.  And for us, that was the ticket.

Please understand, that being self-employed is a perfect choice and solution for many business owners.  Not everyone desires to grow an organization and take on the entrepreneurial status.  The key is knowing which you desire to be, considering exactly how you desire to intertwine your work life and personal lifestyle so that they successfully co-exist, then structuring your business model and staff accordingly.

That’s the Skinny, 

Important Hiring Perspective(s) as You Grow

Target Readers:

  • Those building their business via staff and hiring.
  • Those struggling to find good candidates. 
  • Those with a poor track record in successful hiring.

Talking Points:

  • How to weed out bad candidates quickly.
  • Understanding what instincts are needed for a candidate.
  • Finding candidates with the right mindset. 

Secure and respected and engaged and risky

Some people want their workplace to be like an artist’s studio. A lab. A dance with the possible. Engaging. Thrilling. The chance to take flight, to be engaged, to risk defeat and to find a new solution to an important problem. 

And some people want a job that’s secure, where they are respected by those around them.

The essential lesson: These are not necessarily different people, but they are very different attitudes. 

It’s a choice, a choice made once a lifetime, or every year, or perhaps day by day…

When you sit with an employee who seeks security and talk to them about “failing fast,” and “understanding the guardrails,” and “speaking up,” it’s not likely to resonate. 

It’s worth finding the right state of mind for the job that needs to be done.

Here’s the Skinny,

An interesting perspective below (from Seth Godin) to keep in mind when managing & hiring…  Not anything we “don’t already know”, but it isn’t always the first thing that may jump-to-mind when dealing with your teams.

Nugget 1: At USA Financial we use a tool called Kolbe in our hiring practice. Kolbe helps identify a person’s “modus operandi” or creative instincts. In my experience, the high Quick Starts (strong with originality, risk-taking, and uncertainty) are usually in the “thrilling group” as described by Seth above, while high Follow Through (provides structure, order, focus, and continuity) tend to be in the “job security group” – high Fact Finder (enjoys complexity and providing the perspective of experience) and high Implementer (provides durability and a sense of the tangible) seem to be about 50/50 in either camp. I’ve found this tool to be very effective at helping us determine if a candidate is a good fit for a particular role.

Nugget 2: At my last Strategic Coach 10x meeting, my friend Dan Sullivan emphasized the importance of the following interview question (especially for weeding out the “wrong kind” of millennial attitude – although its equally important for any potential hire)…  The question is:

“If you are hired by INSERT FIRM NAME HERE, what do you feel you will be entitled to?”

  • Hint:     The correct answer is NOTHING, or a derivative what they will bring to your organization.  Such as, “an opportunity to contribute to the team”, or “the chance to apply my skill set”.  Not any answer along the lines of benefits, tenure, vacation days, or any other unionized or entitlement type response.  I know this is a question the USA Financial team has been using for a while now, but it was a great reminder for me to hear it again from a third-party source.

Nugget 3: God has hardwired each of us differently, and that is highly beneficial to you as an entrepreneur.  The mistake many make is hiring “someone just like them,” where what they most likely need is someone entirely different than them…  Someone who would absolutely love to do the work that you have no interest in doing… The key is to build your team/staff like a snugly fit puzzle.  That is where the magic can be found.

That’s the Skinny, 

Everyone on Staff is in Sales (whether they realize it or not)

Here’s the Skinny,

I’ve been saying for years, “anything you ever do to earn income requires selling.”

There are obvious direct sales roles, but even the “best” of those have been re-positioned as “consultative selling” by today’s standards.  Financial advisors may now be the best example of the consultative (and fiduciary) approach to building business (aka, selling), with attorneys, accountants and consultants in that same category.

Beyond that, no matter what the role someone plays on staff, sales skills are “still” required – even if you don’t think of them that way.  Imagine a receptionist (the voice of your company), or customer service rep (CSR) dealing with both happy and disgruntled customers.  Every situation you can imagine requires some sales skills:

  1. Helping a customer make a decision or choice of any kind.
  2. Handling a difficult conversation and/or delivering bad news.
  3. Getting along with co-workers.
  4. Solving problems and creating solutions of any kind.
  5. Project management and/or new initiatives.
  6. Thinking creatively.
  7. Interviewing for a job.

Simply put, revenue dries up and the world stops spinning without sales.  My dad used to always say to me, “nothing happens until someone sells something.”  But the trick is, people don’t actually want to be “sold.” However, they love to “buy” and they very much appreciate sincere assistance and trusted guidance in every situation along the way.

Quote - Jay Abraham

My point for sharing this today is simply that I read the blog re-posted below from Seth Godin (best-selling business author) and felt it was one of the better ones I’ve seen that describes the subtleties and broad scope for all that includes sales…

Enjoy & and may I suggest, contemplate:

“I’m not selling anything” (from Seth Godin)

Of course you are. You’re selling connection or forward motion. You’re selling a new way of thinking, a better place to work, a chance to make a difference. Or perhaps you’re selling possibility, generosity or sheer hard work.

It might be that the selling you’re doing costs time and effort, not money, but if you’re trying to make change happen, then you’re selling something.

If you’re not trying to make things better, why are you here?

So sure, you’re selling something.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “I’m not selling something too aggressively, invading your space, stealing your attention and pushing you to do something that doesn’t match your goals.”

That’s probably true. At least I hope it is.

(But if you are any good at all, you are always selling something, especially through infectious enthusiasm for what you do.)

That’s the Skinny,

Creating the Most Value in Your Practice

Here’s the Skinny…

The first quarter of any given year is probably the time that most financial advisors visit strategic planning topics  – such as , “How do I get the most value out of my business and/or create the most value in my business?”

Historically, I’ve consulted many advisors regarding the flip-flopped order for the “Top 4 Targets” regarding positioning your practice for clients vs. positioning your practice for market valuation.

Interestingly, I believe the Top 4 Targets are identical in both scenarios (or from both viewpoints – customer vs. buyer), however the order is changed.  


The reality is that systems, sustainability, and profits can be hard to assess separately as they can be so intertwined in their functionality.  The main point is that clients are specifically looking for your expertise, while potential buyers know that you will be exiting the business (at some point after they buy it from you) so they are much more concerned with the repeat-ability and duplication of your systems, sustainability and profits.

For a 5-minute deep-dive discussion on how to structure your practice for success, watch Positioning for Clients vs. Positioning for Market Valuation

One of the strongest contributors to systems, sustainability and profits is the overall percentage of recurring revenue from AUM that you receive within your practice (in comparison to non-recurring revenue from commissions).  In fact, the Succession Resource Group has published a 15-page report titled, “Your Guide to Increase the Value of Your Business”.  Specifically, when it comes to revenue they state…

“The recurring revenue currently receiving the largest premiums (from business buyers) are 3rd-party managed assets due to their recurring nature and ability to scale…” 

They go on to publish a chart that illustrates the Industry Average Valuation for Transactional Revenue (i.e., commissions) is a factor 1.0 X Revenue.  Whereas, the Industry Average Valuation for Recurring Revenue (i.e., AUM fee revenue) is a factor of 2.60 X Revenue.

Source:  Succession Resource Group

Obviously, that represents a 160% “premium or advantage” for AUM recurring revenue over commission non-recurring revenue.  And they also argue that 3rd-party AUM is valued higher than other form of AUM.


Well, think about it as if you are a buyer and then it makes perfect sense…

If you are buying a practice chock-full of 3rd-Party AUM, you can hit the ground running, not miss a beat, and have potentially endless scalability.  You can continue with the systems that are already in place to gather assets with no worries about having to “climb inside the brain” of a self-managing advisor.

On the other hand, if the selling advisor is self-managing the money, how exactly is the buyer to duplicate that thought process and execution once the seller leaves?  And furthermore, how are they to gain scalability whereas the more assets they gather, the more workload, complexity and liability they create for themselves as the money management component escalates, and by default puts strain on the ability to gather new assets?

Additionally, the “business risk” associated with those assets skyrockets in a self-managing practice.  Meaning, if the customer is unhappy with the money management performance, they have no choice but to leave the practice.  Whereas, an advisor “managing the relationships” rather than “managing the money,” can easily pivot to another money manager that more closely aligns with the investor’s needs or desires.

Simply put, buyers are not looking to purchase a job…  They are looking to purchase a business!

Utilization of 3rd -party money managers enhances your practice in ways that commission and self-managed models cannot.

That’s the Skinny,

Moonshots in Business: Your Tool for 10X Growth!

Here’s the Skinny,

Business adopted the “moonshot concept” from President John F. Kennedy, after the speech he delivered before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, where he stated, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”[1]

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.[2]

Thus, the “moonshot” was born.

Some have incorrectly categorized business oriented moonshots as being outlandish ideas that have little or no founding in reality, but this is not the case. President Kennedy didn’t make this challenge on a whim.  The idea was researched, feasibility assessments were made, and then an educated challenge was proposed.  There was no guarantee of success, but that does not mean that the idea was something he snatched from an old episode of Flash Gordon.  (Too young to recognize that reference?  Google it and you’ll understand.)

What many forget is that earlier in that very same speech, President Kennedy stated, “With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. Now it is time to take longer strides – time for a great new American enterprise – time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.”[3]

What defines a moonshot in business?

While there is no official formal business description, I define a moonshot as…

  • Undertaking an initiative so unique that it could/would change the trajectory of your business;
  • Attacking problems/challenges so magnificent in size and scope that it both scares and excites you;
  • Requiring radical thinking to fuel giant leaps forward (10x growth vs. 10% growth).

The Harvard Business Review describes a good moonshot as having three key ingredients:[4]

  1. It inspires (it’s not a routine goal like trying to increase sales by 13%).
  2. It is credible (as I mention above, it is not ridiculous, but is founded in reality).
  3. It is imaginative (it’s not the next logical step, but is a meaningful leap).

I contend that most great businesses are riddled with moonshots even if they have gone unrecognized by outsiders.

In fact, I think that in certain world-class companies, moonshots become commonplace (or even expected) as they are embedded into the normal culture of the company.  In our case (USA Financial), I would describe our moonshots as being key “turning points” or “giant leaps forward” that pinpoint our past and shape our future.  Essentially, they become the major milestones in our historical corporate timeline.  Here’s a look back over our 30-year history as example:

  • 1988 Distribution – We launched the firm as an Independent Insurance & Annuity Distributor before any such niche existed.
  • 1992 Practice Management – First developed entrepreneurial training and educational systems to advance advisors’ practices including industry qualified continued education credits.
  • 1995 OSJ – Upon recognizing 96 of our top 100 relationships were with securities reps, we became the largest Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction with two consecutive broker dealers inside of 36 months.
  • 1998 Broker Dealer – We executed our 5 year “OSJ to BD strategic growth conversion plan” two years ahead of schedule.
  • 2001 Fill the Room – Pioneered a marketing service model to fill client events nationally on behalf of local advisors, growing into numerous turnkey “Plug-n-Run” multi-media offerings.
  • 2001 Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) – Predicting the trend toward assets under management, we structured a corporate RIA in support of advisors converting their practice to this “new” model.
  • 2002 UIT – Began investment product research & development applying risk management models to the structural chassis of Unit Investment Trusts (UIT) as we designed product for two different administrators.
  • 2007 Money Management – Our investment product “development” led to our becoming an investment product “manufacturer” via our patented formulaic trending approach to risk & money management.
  • 2008 Tech Company – Crafted our first piece of proprietary financial industry technology, launching and converting our overall cultural mindset to our being “a technology company in the financial services space.”
  • 2012 Syndicated Radio – Subsequent to a previous multi-year local radio show, we restructured and relaunched as a nationally syndicated radio show promoting the consumer value of local independent advisor representation.
  • 2016 TAMP – Designed a highly flexible and benefit-rich turnkey asset management program and platform to streamline and simplify account custody and management for both advisors and investors.

That looks like a lot of success – and it is…  But keep in mind, moonshots, by definition, may include equally explosive failures.  And this is crucial to your understanding moonshots.  A moonshot failure may be even more important than success!  Therefore, it must be okay to fail (as long as proper strategy and effort was applied) as today’s failure often leads to tomorrow’s breakthrough and/or strategic byproduct.  It can truly be said that failure leads to the next-bigger-better moonshot.

For example, two failures directly led to two of our absolutely greatest moonshot successes:

  1. Between 1992 and 2001 we were coaching and mentoring financial advisors all across the country on how to run large, extreme, PR oriented prospecting events.  However, few advisors had expertise or resources to execute the concept from A-Z on their own, so we were being run ragged making appearances all across the continental U.S. in support of advisors nationwide.  We were failing and sinking fast.  Finally, we recognized the need to reboot our entire way of thinking.  After a complete scraping and retooling, we introduced the Fill-the-Room System, which has arguably placed more investor clientele in front of qualified advisors since year 2001 than any other program in the industry (25,000 RSVPs last year alone).
  2. From 2011 through 2013 we undertook a complete corporate re-branding for all of our subsidiaries.  The concept was strategically sound and well-meaning as we tried to separate our investor-oriented branding from our advisor-oriented branding.  Specifically, we were trying to further support our advisors in a rapidly escalating online and social media world.  The whole thing blew up in our face.  We lost traction in the industry.  We created mass confusion.  People literally thought we went out of business.  It was disastrous.  We pulled the plug, stole a page form the historic “New Coke vs. Classic Coke debacle” and did a 180 degree re-branding back to a singular and cohesive USA Financial brand across all subsidiaries while making fun of ourselves at every chance along the way.  We even created a comical video positioning ourselves as the butt of the joke.  It spread like wildfire, worked brilliantly, helped set the stage for our syndicated radio show – and laid the groundwork for our current marketplace positioning that has proven crucial for our TAMP launch in 2016.

Every time I speak with entrepreneurs about failed moonshots, it seems they always point to the power of what was learned, along with phoenix-like stories of how even greater success has risen from the ashes within subsequent moonshots.

Moonshots may be one of your most powerful tools in business.  Who’d have known?

That’s the Skinny,

  1. May 24, 2004, under NASA History, “Excerpt from the ‘Special Message to Congress on Urgent National Needs'”
  3. May 24, 2004, under NASA History, “Excerpt from the ‘Special Message to Congress on Urgent National Needs'”
  4. May 14, 2013, Harvard Business Review, “What a Good Moonshot is Really For”

The Inside-Scoop on USA Financial for 2018 (and Beyond)

Here’s the Skinny…

For your curiosity and in the spirit of transparency, I just shared a recent announcement, “The Inside-Scoop on USA Financial for 2018 (and Beyond),” that was sent to all of our affiliated advisors. It’s a bit of a state-of-the-company address that I do each year:

“Long ago, economic security was simply a function of a company’s SIZE and AGE, whereas now economic security is a function of a firm’s continued GROWTH and AGILITY.

The quote above is something I originally said a few years back, but have restated to our team and others numerous times since. Ironically, even though we strategize as a growing, agile organization, I’m proud that we can lay-claim to achieving high-grades in each of those four categories:

  1. SIZE – Our overall custody is over $3.5 billion with three-quarters of a billion in annual sales.
  2. AGE – This year, we will celebrate our 30th year in business.
  3. GROWTH – In 2017, we were named to the Inc. 5000 list for the fourth year in a row. This is an annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
  4. AGILITY – Early 2017 “took-off” with USA Financial Exchange making a splash as a turnkey asset management program (TAMP) with industry leading features. USA Financial Securities then “officially became more RIA than BD,” as fee revenues surpassed commission revenues for the first time. Finally, at the end of 2017, we quietly launched USA Financial Consulting in response to and in support of IARs, Hybrid RIAs, and Stand-Alone RIAs assessing and implementing compliance, transition, and registration opportunities.

I go in to more detail in the full announcement that can be accessed here: “The Inside-Scoop on USA Financial for 2018 (and Beyond).”


That’s the Skinny,

How Just 20 People Can Redefine Your Practice

Here’s the Skinny,

Can you name the 20 most influential and important people in your practice right now?

I’m not referring to your 20 largest clients (although many could not list them either).  Some may be in your largest client grouping, but others may not even be customers of your firm – while you let that sink in, I’ll tell you a story about one of the influencers of USA Financial.

We started a partnership with this company in 2005. Over the years we have gotten to know each other better as business partners and have grown relationships with key individuals within each of our firms. This past year, they started introducing us to several wonderful potential clients. Now, this isn’t something we asked for, it’s not part of our business agreement and they aren’t directly compensated for sending someone our way. So why send us referrals? Because they know our business and trust us enough to stake their reputation on the experience someone will have when interacting with USA Financial. It’s easily the best compliment to receive and you can bet that they are included in our firm’s top 20.

Investing in these people, hyper-focusing the majority of your time resources and energy, can be like adding fertilizer to a perennial chunk of fertile soil capable of generating bumper crop after bumper crop if just given a bit of tender loving care.

I dive into greater detail on this topic and the secrets of these 20 influencers HERE (free 6 ½ minute video: Top 20 Mavens).

For those of you already affiliated with USA Financial, you can find this video on the dashboard in the Coaching and Consulting section (video # 18).

That’s the Skinny,