Is your wealth management practice running you, instead of the other way around? Then maybe it’s time to add to your staff. Or not. Picking the right time to augment your team can be tricky, but if you’re methodical about it, you can make the right move.

If you jump the gun, you might wind up having to cut back on the new hire’s hours, or simply waste money by having an underutilized employee on your hands. But the more typical problem, according to Dawn Drewitz, MBA, CFP, ACC, a senior business consultant at HD Vest Financial Services, is putting off hiring longer than you need to. “Being under-staffed can take a toll on you and limit your practice’s growth potential,” she said.

The first step in deciding whether the time is right to hire is to track how you’re using your time over a two-week period. If you learn that a lot of it is spent on administrative tasks, it is undoubtedly coming at the expense of higher-value efforts including client meetings, prospecting for new business, and other strategic necessities. That means it’s time to look for more help — unless, of course, you are content with the status quo.

Also, when you track your time over a two-week period or even a bit longer, it will be easier to determine whether your time challenge is more likely to be chronic or cyclical. If it’s cyclical, of course, hiring a full-timer would be the wrong response.

VALUE YOUR TIME

If you are the sole revenue generator, you can do a simple calculation of the value of your time by dividing your annual gross revenue into the number of hours you work. If it comes out to, say, $250 an hour, and you can offload administrative tasks or lower-level professional duties to a new junior staff member at an hourly cost in the $20-$40 range, it’s probably time to do so.

“Every situation is a little different, but as a rule of thumb, once you reach around $500,000 in annual revenue, it’s probably time to look for another advisor,” Drewitz said.

What often gets in the way, she added, is a reluctance to delegate. “Advisors will often tell me, ‘I can get it done faster myself than having to train someone else to do it,’” she added. But once advisors are persuaded that this is impeding their growth, take the plunge and make a smart hiring decision, they rarely look back, according to Drewitz.

DO IT RIGHT

Don’t rush the hiring process. Think through the precise nature of the job you want to fill, and craft a detailed job description, as much for your benefit as for the person you will hire. Then start prospecting for someone to fill the position as you would a client, Drewitz suggested. Being on the look-out will bring better results than trying to compress the search into a short time and having a more limited set of options.

“As with getting clients, referrals are the greatest way to get new people,” Drewitz said. Nevertheless, you’ll probably also need to post the position online. Avoid using trendy job titles that will confuse prospective applicants or simply prevent them from seeing your listing. For instance, don’t list “director of first impressions,” instead of the more conventional “receptionist.”

Once you find some strong prospects, don’t just trust your instincts. Personality profiling services like the Kolbe System can help validate — or refute — your gut feeling.

As noted, after analyzing how your time is spent, you might determine that you don’t really need a full-time addition to your staff. Alternatives, depending on the nature of the work required, can include hiring a part-timer, or looking for an intern.

If you do hire an intern who is working towards a professional career, structure the internship to ensure that the individual isn’t limited to low-level administrative work. “Give the intern an opportunity to learn,” said Drewitz. “Not only is that fair to the intern, but you might be training someone who you will want to hire full-time, and the professional experience you will provide will benefit you as well.”

For more information about HD Vest Financial Services and how they can help you transfer a client’s wealth, visit hdvest.com/join or contact a Business Development Consultant at (800) 742-7950.

HD Vest Financial Services® and its affiliates (collectively, “H.D. Vest, Inc.”) do not provide tax or accounting services. You should consult your tax professional regarding the tax implications of any investments.

The views and opinions presented in this article are those of Dawn Drewitz and not of HD Vest Financial Services or its subsidiaries.

HD Vest Financial Services® is the holding company for the group of companies providing financial services under the HD Vest name.

Securities offered through HD Vest Investment ServicesSM, Member SIPC, Advisory services offered through HD Vest Advisory ServicesSM, 6333 N. State Highway 161, Fourth Floor, Irving, TX 75038, 972-870-6000.