Business strategy and growth plans are typically locked away in an ivory tower of a corporate board room or executive office, only to be discussed with those privileged enough to be in the inner circle.
We feel that clearly stating who we are, what we are about, and where we are going is just more beneficial to everyone involved – clients, prospects, other business owners, and fellow professionals.
Trying to morph to everyone’s needs is a very difficult thing to do. If you try to please everyone, then no one is pleased. A better strategy is to strike out and announce this is where we’re headed – jump on if you want.
And like any small business out the gate, the only way is forward, so here’s how we plan to grow:
The first step involves knowing where we want to get to (ie. how we can be most helpful to people).
We want to build a firm where clients get great investment and planning advice in ways they understand and transform their relationship with money. Well, doesn’t everyone?
Right, but we want to slow that process down. Building a large firm prevents us from working with a limited group of people where we can make a deep impact (and be impacted ourselves). That’s why we’re small and plan to stay small.
We’ve replaced “really busy,” “worked all weekend,” “in a hurry,” and “what’s next?” with “I have time,” “family weekend,” “tell me more about that,” and “enough.”
People are magic. They are full of potential, stories, and above all souls. Birchwood wants to be fully present with these people who entrust us with their future because that’s where the majority of the benefit to them comes from. If we know them, then we can provide them with the best advice.
That’s our vision.
The second step involves adjusting our time horizon to complete that vision. In an age of start-ups burning through cash like it’s gasoline on a burn pile all for the sake of next quarter’s growth numbers, a time horizon that isn’t measured in weeks is too long. We kick this notion out the front door.
Relationships take time, and while we’ll never pass up a great engagement, we won’t be pressured into taking on relationships if they don’t fit our firm’s ethos. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an easy thing to do (especially when family bugs you about it constantly – only because they care though, I love them.) We took the approach of: if this is what we’re going to be doing for the next 30-40 years, what type of relationships do we want at year 40? Better relationships today means better service to all our clients today and over the decades to come.
Wow, I just wrote “decades” in an industry that wants up to the minute stock quotes. Yes, we’re very different.
The more we are interested in providing value to people, the less we have to worry about our future.
Our portfolios are based in simplicity utilizing global index funds. I’ve seen all the strategies and have yet to be convinced that retirees need anything other than a low-cost portfolio they understand. While this is a simple idea we take it very seriously. We find that most portfolio managers don’t take simple ideas seriously. Sending a “Thank You” card is a simple idea – but it’s rarer and rarer to receive one these days.
Our fees are not hidden (we have a whole page dedicated to it) so you can know how a flat-fee allows your accounts to compound for you, not against you. Compounding is beautiful and wild. It’s beautiful in the sense that over time small amounts grow to astronomical values. It’s wild because if you don’t understand it, you pay a severe cost – as most investors are painfully unaware.
We favor one-page financial plans over the pages and pages of scenarios and pie charts because we believe people want to know what they need to do clearly and concisely.
This is where Birchwood Capital is going.