All too often, we're a society that tends to base a lot of its behavior upon reactions to a variety of circumstances and events. Although we probably don't think about it as often as we should, the same can be said about many business-related activities.
Many professionals, including financial advisors, attorneys and others, are always counseling their clients to be proactive when it comes to planning for the future. The obvious reason for this, of course, is that proactive planning can maximize the benefits clients receive from the professional's services and avoid a lot of costly pitfalls that can wreck future plans. While a variety of professionals preach this discipline to their clients, they don't always follow it themselves.
A perfect example of this can be seen in the way many professionals, including financial advisors, market themselves. Even though the best advisors may always be aware of the necessity of having a full prospect pipeline, many don't make a concerted effort to devote the time to do it. Instead, they think of marketing as a cost to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. They think of the time and money it takes and seek to avoid it whenever possible.
The obvious problem with this approach is that when a downturn in business comes and you do need to get serious about marketing, you have to be reactive rather than proactive and, as any seasoned PR or marketing pro will tell you, a reactive strategy is never as successful as one that's planned and executed over the long-term with clearly defined business objectives in mind.
When many advisors first get into the business, they are helped by a "jump start" from friends and/or family. This is obviously a great way to build a foundation for a practice, but you also need a solid strategy designed to help expand your practice. As I've written about before in this space, it helps to have a niche that defines who you are, what your philosophy is and who makes an ideal client. Once you have that, everything else in your marketing and public relations efforts can be planned around that and designed to work in concert with one another. A well-planned PR strategy that has your practice's long-term future in mind will help smooth out rough spots that are brought on by changes in the economy, markets and other forces.
One of the old adages I've always liked about marketing addresses the issue of putting off initiatives head on. It basically says "waiting for conditions to improve before beginning a marketing program is like saying I'll throw another log on the fire once it warms up in here." Just as that strategy wouldn't work too well for anyone trying to keep warm, a similar approach tied to marketing and public relations initiatives won't yield much fruit either.