|“Going Home Again…”||
|By: Ron Brounes||
It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times; It was a Time for Change.
The Best of Times: In October 2001, I took advantage of a tremendous opportunity to join a highly successful financial planning practice at American Express Financial Advisors. I have spent the past year and a half enhancing the marketing efforts of the practice and serving in a financial advisor capacity for new clients. These roles have been incredibly rewarding and I now have a far more substantial understanding of the importance of comprehensive financial planning and an even greater respect for Scott Tiras and Darrell Pennington, two consummate professionals in the field. Their collective knowledge of the financial planning process and the investment markets is second to none; their relationships with their clients extend well beyond that of a traditional financial advisor. Particularly in these challenging times, they serve as advisor, educator, counselor, and friend. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to learn from them, to work along side of them, to help them grow their practice. I am pleased to have been their partner, but mainly I am pleased to be their client. (Plus, they always brought in great lunches on Fridays.)
The Worst of Times: Needless to say, the past few years have represented very challenging times for investors (and financial professionals). The markets have plummeted to levels far below most expectations. Uncertainties within the economy and the global geo-political situations have prompted even greater fears among the investor community. This environment has made it quite difficult to prospect; investors maintain a “wait and see” (or simply a “sell now”) attitude as the uncertainties persist. Marketing approaches, prospecting tools, and budgetary matters are re-evaluated; compliance issues become even greater priorities whenever bearish times exist. Despite the challenges, the practice has thrived; clients remain confident in the skills and expertise of these advisors and the outlook for the future looks very promising.
A Time for Change: As roles change within the practice to accommodate the times, the most effective (and desirable) way for me to enhance the marketing efforts is from an outsourced capacity as before. Therefore, I have decided to hang up the suits (that don’t fit anymore), pull out that “business casual” wear (that is now out of style), walk away from those Friday lunches (which contributed to the tight suits) and re-establish Brounes & Associates, retaining this American Express practice as one of my clients. I will also have the opportunity to pursue other ventures with old and new clients, something I have missed over the past 18 months.
NEW AND IMPROVED
For five years, Brounes & Associates provided marketing, communications consulting, and strategic planning services, primarily targeting the financial services and legal communities. Once again, those services (and those markets) will remain its focus. I am older (not old) and wiser and have benefited greatly from my time at American Express. Bear in mind, my background includes a CPA designation, public accounting experience, an MBA with an emphasis in investment finance, and 10+ years in the financial services industry.
SO LET THE NETWORKING BEGIN
As with any new business (or newly established old business), my primary job these days is to reconnect with past clients and prospect new ones. Therefore, in addition to traditional office visits, I am scheduling meetings over breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee breaks, evening cocktails, sporting events and other settings with anyone and everyone who wishes to discuss our respective businesses and potential opportunities (in return for a meal, a drink, a cup of joe). Over the past few weeks, I’ve even driven folks to the airport and helped a friend move furniture in order to bend an ear or two about the services we each offer.
So if you or your firm are in need of the services as described above; OR you know of others who may be in need of the services as described above; OR you’re frankly uncertain and require additional insight and information about the services as described above; OR you’re simply hungry or thirsty or in dire need of a grande coffee of the day (with room for cream), a ride to the airport or help with moving furniture, let’s get together soon. I am excited about the opportunity to visit with you and discuss my plans for the “new and improved” Brounes & Associates and, of course, welcome feedback from those trusted few on my newsletter mailing list (which still includes just about anyone I have ever met). I look forward to chatting with you in the near future and to the prospects of working with you and your firm, whether it be for help needed in “the best of times, the worst of times, or simply, a time for change.”