I want to thank Connie Guelich for the taking the time to share her business experience and advice with us. I know you’ll be encouraged and inspired by her story!
1. If you could change anything about your start up years, what would it be?
This is a tough question. I started as a young mother of two so I was balancing family and building a business.
The most important advice I have for Mom’s building a business is to be very disciplined about setting aside time to work and time for family. Set up a schedule for yourself just as if you were reporting to work for someone else. Then when you work, work hard. Give it your all. But, also be sure to schedule ample time for family, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Be present with your kids and forget about work while you are with them. Otherwise if you run it all together you feel guilty 24/7 – when you are working you feel guilty about not being with your kids. When you are with the kids you feel guilty because you should be working. It’s a tough juggling act.
Also, know that the time with your kids is a short period of time in your whole life. You need to seize it while you can.
“…when you are working you feel guilty about not being with your kids. When you are with the kids you feel guilty because you should be working…”
When my children were young, I worked about 25 hours a week and I tried to choose the times when they were in school or in bed. I wanted to be involved in all they were doing. I think I got more done in those 25 hours than a lot of folks get done in twice that time. I really tried to focus and use good time management skills.
I have had an empty nest for a very long time and can devote as much time as I want to my business. So, I guess my answer is that I would not change anything. I have no regrets about starting slowly and making sure I had time for my children. None whatsoever.
After kids, there is plenty of time to catch up with your business.
3. What role does your website play in your business/marketing goals?
Our website is becoming more important all the time as both a marketing tool and a tool to reinforce our presence for clients. People expect us to have a web presence. Most new contacts tell us they have already checked out our website before calling us. And, we get great feedback on it. We post articles and market commentaries and upcoming events there. Then we link back to it from our business FB page and LinkedIn. We use it as a resource to register people for our workshops and seminars too.
4. How do you stand out from the crowd? And how do you find your clients?
The centerpiece of our work is active money management.
We standout because we have been telling people that ‘Buy and Hold’ doesn’t work for the last 8 years. More advisors have climbed on this wagon since 2009, but we were already saying that and managing our clients’ money actively. We avoided the calamity in the stock market in 2008-2009 for our clients.
About half our new clients come from referrals from existing clients.
Next we introduce people to our investment philosophy through seminars and workshops. We promote these on our website, social media and local radio.
Then we get referrals from other professionals, attorneys and accountants.
Also we are committed to relationships. Ours is a small firm and we know each client very well. We work hard on building strong relationships and we stand out from the many advisors who never contact their clients.
It takes constant communication to keep the pipeline full.
5. Do you have any book recommendations that were/are particularly eye-opening for you?
I read continually.
I usually have two or three books going at one time. Two classics in financial success are The Richest Man in Babylon and Think and Grow Rich. More recent titles that have helped me shape my business are The Experience Economy and The World is Flat.
I like Malcolm Gladwell’s writing: The Outliers is a favorite as well as The Tipping Point. Another good one is Sway by Ori and Rom Brafman. I just finished reading The Corner Office by Bryant. I found it to be a rich resource for leadership ideas. Right now I am reading The Case for Democracy by Sharansky.
6. Last minute words of advice for the Boutique business owner?
“Never neglect clients in a pursuit of prospects to become new clients.”
~ Connie Guelich
You can hire people all day long to work in your business but no one cares more about your business than you do. So make sure you know what is going on in all areas of your business. Your richest resource is your clients. Always remember to take good care of your clients adding value they don’t find anywhere else. Never neglect clients in a pursuit of prospects to become new clients. You have to do both, but remember that it is easier to keep a client than to find a new one.