How to Start a Financial Advisor Business

how to start your own firm

11 Steps to Starting a Financial Advisor Business

How big is the financial planning & advice industry, what are the key sectors of the financial planning & advice industry, what external factors affect the financial planning & advice industry, who are the key competitors in the financial planning & advice industry, what are the key customer segments in the financial advice market, what are the typical startup costs for a new financial advisor, what are the key costs to launching a successful financial planning firm, is a financial advisor business profitable, what type of financial advisor business model should i choose, what are the keys to launching a new financial advisor business, starting a financial advisor business faqs, other helpful business plan articles & templates.

A financial planning firm is a company that provides financial advising and planning services to individuals and businesses. Financial advisors offer advice on managing investments, insurance, mortgages, and other financial matters. If you’re looking to start your independent financial planning firm, there are a few key things you need to know. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of starting your own financial planning firm and provide tips for launching your business.

Importantly, a critical step in starting a financial advisor business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Financial Advisor Business Plan Template here .

Download our Ultimate Financial Advisor Business Plan Template here

1. Figure out your Niche

The financial and investment advisor industry can be very competitive, so you have to find a way to set yourself apart from the rest of the investment advisers out there. Find your niche, and focus on it.

A few niches include:

2. Choose an Investment Management Style

Once you’ve identified your niche, it’s time to choose a method of financial planning you’re going to focus on. Here are the most popular styles:

3. Consider your Target Audience

Next, think about who you’re targeting. Your ideal audience will be the clients that value your services the most and are more likely to pay for them.

Some things to consider when choosing a target audience include:

4. Find your Competitors

Now it’s time to find out what your competition is up to in the financial advisory industry. Think about whom you’re going after and which companies offer services that might compete with yours.

5. Get your Business Plan in Order

Once you’ve set up your niche, chosen an investment style, identified your target audience, and found out what your competition is doing, it’s time to create a financial planner business plan for success. Your plan should include:

Be sure to include all of this information in a well-thought-out plan that will help you get funding from investors and convince clients that your financial services are the best choice.

6. Secure Funding for Startup Costs

The nature of a financial advisor business means you will need funding to provide initial marketing, advertising, and operational costs. This is generally done through personal investments by the founders or loans from local banks or other institutions interested in lending money to small businesses.

To get outside funding for your business, follow these steps:

Be prepared to answer questions about your financial services, your target audience, and the market in general; also be ready to explain how much startup funding you need and what it will be used for.

7. Start Marketing Yourself

Now that you have a financial planner business plan in place, it’s time to start marketing yourself. Begin by creating an online presence and using the Internet to attract potential clients for your services. You can start with these things:

Once you’ve started to build your online presence, start building relationships with other financial advisors in the business. Hang out in chat rooms or forums where they’re already congregating and offer advice whenever possible. This establishes you as an expert in the field to people who might need your services later on.

Building a name for yourself will take time, but starting a financial advisor business is rewarding and you’ll soon find yourself with plenty of new clients.

    Finish Your Business Plan Today!

8. develop an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a 30-second explanation of your financial advisor business that you can use to introduce yourself to potential clients. Your investment advisor elevator pitch should highlight the unique aspects of your Financial Advisor business and immediately communicate what makes you stand out from other financial advisors in your Financial Advisor niche.

Focus on capturing attention as soon as possible. Your elevator pitch should be simple and straight to the point; you want your clients to remember what sets you apart from other financial advisors, not a long speech about how great you are.

Pitch yourself at networking events and financial advisor business startup seminars.

9. Create your Client Acquisition Plan

Once you’ve built up an online presence, it’s time to create a client acquisition plan that will help you meet your goals for getting new clients and start bringing in money. To develop this plan, identify your ideal client and decide how exactly you will attract them to your business:

Once you’ve identified the right clients and found the best way to attract them, it’s time to start filling those client coffers. You’ll be surprised at how much business can grow from word-of-mouth referrals alone, so don’t hesitate to ask satisfied clients for a referral whenever possible.

10. Work on Client Retention

A happy client is a client who will come back for more services and tell their friends about your financial planning firm. You can stay in touch with clients through digital or paper newsletters, phone calls, text messages, social media, email blasts – whatever works best to keep you at the forefront of their minds.

The first sale is always the hardest, but after that client has purchased a service, you’ll find it much easier to sell them other services down the road. To start this process, create a basic financial plan for your clients; take time to sit down with each of them, identify their needs and goals, and develop an investment strategy that makes sense for their current financial state. You can also offer services like estate planning, tax preparation, and insurance to give your clients more options when they’re ready to expand their financial portfolios.

11. Achieve Success by Setting Goals and Measuring Results

Setting goals is one of the most integral parts of operating a successful business, so it’s important to set clear, attainable goals for your financial advisor business. For example, if you want to grow your client base by attracting ten new clients in the first month of operation, start with smaller goals like attracting five or three new clients and work up from there so you know what to expect throughout the process.

Once you’ve set your initial client goals, develop a strategy for how you’ll measure your progress. Set up Google Analytics or another program to track how many people visit the website and social media presence of your financial planning firm so you can see which sources bring in the most traffic and clients. This will help guide future marketing efforts and help you see what’s really working when it comes to promoting your financial planning business.

12. Get the Training and Licenses You Need to be Successful

Financial advisors are governed by strict legal and ethical standards, so it’s important to get enough training to stay in compliance with both local and federal laws. While many states allow financial planners to operate under their own licenses (and sometimes without any license at all), other states require financial planners to have a license from the Series 65 exam. If you live in one of these regulated states, be sure that your education and experience meet the standards set forth by the state: .

The financial services industry is growing at a rapid pace and continues to grow despite the recent economic downturn. The industry is worth over $59.2 billion and is expected to grow by 4% every year over the next decade.

The financial services industry is made up of five main sectors:

The financial planning and advice industry is affected by external factors such as market performance, economic trends, and the overall state of the economy.

For example, advisors that focus on selling investments or providing investment services must consider the performance of the stock market. If the market is performing well and people feel good about their money, it’s likely they’ll invest more funds in stocks, which will affect how brokers make a living.

The other external factors that affect the financial planning profession are macroeconomic trends that affect the population’s confidence in the economy.

For example, during an economic recession, it’s important for financial advisors to understand that their clients may be more risk-averse, and not investing as much money into stocks or mutual funds would be wise.

On the other hand, if the economy is doing well and people are feeling confident about their financial stability, then it’s wise to invest more money into stocks.

The financial planning and advice industry is highly competitive, and there are over 130,000 financial advisors in the United States alone. Although many of these advisors work for large financial institutions such as banks and credit unions, many others run their own business full-time or on a part-time basis.

Some of the key competitors in the financial advising industry are:

The financial advising industry provides services to individuals of all income levels, but there are some key differences in the type of client each advisor typically deals with.

From growing family needs to save for retirement, financial advisors provide services that help clients meet their individual goals.

Financial advisors have two primary types of startup costs: the cost to set up a legal entity for their new company and ongoing costs that must be met in order to keep the business running.

The Legal Entity

If you want to set up a financial advisor business, you’ll need to create a legal entity for your company. Your startup costs will depend on how you choose to structure your company, but these options are the most common:

Ongoing Business Expenses

The other primary cost you’ll need to consider when starting a financial advisor business is how much it will cost to keep your company running on a monthly basis. These are some common expenses that every financial advisor has to pay:

The good news is that there are many different financial advisor business models you can choose from depending on what startup costs you’re able to cover. You can either start a full-service financial planning company, which will require more overhead because you’ll need to hire employees and freelancers, or you can start a fee-only financial planning company that only charges clients through the services they use.

The key costs you’ll need to cover when launching a successful financial planning company include:

Even though you’ll need to invest money initially, having your own financial planning company can save you thousands of dollars per month in fees, which means that advisors who go independent typically recoup their startup costs within three years. Plus, once you establish yourself as a success and gain clients, you’ll be able to cut back on your marketing expenses, which means that you’ll see a return on investment much sooner.

The amount of money you’ll make as a financial advisor depends on how much work you put into establishing your business and what financial advisor business model you adopt. Advisors who work with institutions and rely on investments to generate their income will generally earn more money annually compared to smaller financial advisory businesses.

When you launch a financial advisor business, you’ll need to choose between the following business models: fee-only financial planning, concierge service, and full-service.

The model you choose to adopt depends on the financial advisor business you establish. For example, if you plan to launch a fee-only financial planning business that offers high levels of personalized service, then you’ll probably want to choose the concierge service model for your business. If you’re more likely to attract prospective clients who are interested in investing their money with you, then you’ll likely want to choose the full-service financial advisor business model.

Once you’ve decided on a financial advisor business model and have gathered all of the necessary tools, it’s time to launch your new company. Below are some tips for a successful launch:

Additional Resources

Financial Advisor Mavericks

How to Finish Your Financial Advisor Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your financial advisor business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Financial Advisor Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

What are the qualifications needed to start a financial advisor business?

To start a financial advisor business, you'll typically need at least two to three years of experience in the financial planning field. You can meet this requirement by holding various financial planning positions or taking relevant online courses and continuing education classes.

How can I find financial and investment advisor business leads?

The best way to find financial planning leads is by utilizing your company website or social media pages. You can also track down prospects through online directories, referrals from friends, personal networking engagements, and cold calling techniques.

What are the benefits of starting a financial advisory business?

The primary benefit of launching your own financial advisor business is establishing control over how you make money. Aside from that, there are many other benefits including building lasting relationships with clients, gaining greater flexibility in your work schedule, and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with helping others achieve their financial goals.

What are the risks of starting a financial advisory business?

One of the main risks associated with launching a financial advisor business is going into debt. You'll want to have at least six months' worth of living expenses saved up as well as an emergency fund in place to help balance this risk out. Another risk to consider is not having enough time to focus on your company due to the demands of your full-time job.

Who are some successful financial advisors?

A few well-known, highly successful financial advisors include Charles Schwab, Kenneth Fisher, and David Bach. These advisors have written numerous books on their financial strategies and how they can be applied to everyday life.

What is my financial advisor business plan?

In order to become a financial advisor, you'll need to have a sound financial advisor business plan in place. It will help you determine how much money you'll need to make the annual salary you desire, your marketing strategies going forward, and how much money you can spend on expenses each month.

How do I become a registered investment advisor?

In order to become a registered investment advisor, you'll need to meet certain requirements regarding your education and professional background as well as pass the Series 7 exam. You can find out more about the requirements by visiting websites such as Investment Adviser Association or FINRA.

Business Plan Template & Guide For Small Businesses

Why Open Your Own Firm?

Veterans and Client Base Retention

Rookies and client base building, #1. start-up costs, #2. licensing and training, #3. business plan creation, #4. business model and services.

#7. Reaping the Rewards

The bottom line.

Financial Advisor

Tips on Starting a Financial Planning Firm

start a financial advisory business

Whether you're a veteran financial planner looking to get out from under a tyrannical boss or a rookie just out of college, the dream of starting your own financial services firm is probably an aspiration that gets you out of bed on even the rainiest of days. Money, autonomy, convenient office hours, and recognition within the community all come as part of the package, at least in our dreams. In reality, starting a financial services firm is a lot of hard work. Those who fail are often those who fail to plan.

Read on as we explore what you need to know to turn your dream into a thriving business reality. We will go over seven crucial factors to keep in mind when starting your own practice.

Growing Demand for Financial Planners

The age of your average financial planner  is increasing, along with the ages of their client base. With that, more planners are leaving their practices while more potential clients are entering their retirement years.

This changing demographics in the American population is rapidly opening up new areas of specialization, such as long-term care and alternative investments. The most recent generation of financial products and services also allows advisors to meet the needs of clients in ways that could not have been anticipated even a few years ago. These factors have increased the need for qualified financial planners.

If you're a veteran in this business trying to go independent, you're probably tired of the constant sales pressure, office politics, and other corporate restrictions placed upon you now. At this point in your career, you have probably developed your own personal investment philosophy that may differ from the methods espoused by your current employer. You may also be concerned about managing your book of business and feel that your client base  would be better served in a more independent setting.

While having an established client base is a huge advantage for anyone starting their own financial planning practice, it also creates its own set of issues. Think about how you will achieve client retention and still be able to service key customers when moving those accounts from one company to another.

Newcomers to the business will face much bigger obstacles on the path to success. In addition to the normal start-up issues that must be dealt with, rookies must also build up a client list from scratch, as well as learn the mechanics of the business, which can be considerable. But, like many entrants into this field, you may see financial planning as a way to make a real difference in other people's lives.

If you are an entrepreneurial spirit, you may be enticed by the possible prestige, freedom, and high compensation enjoyed by many financial planners. But regardless of your background or motives, establishing your own financial planning firm will likely be one of the most difficult—and satisfying—things you've ever done.

Starting a financial planning firm entails many of the same start-up costs as any other business. These include furniture, rent, advertising, technology, utilities, and perhaps an earnest deposit with the new broker-dealer (if one is to be used). Licensing and training costs must be taken into account for those who need them as well. Veterans with a book of business will also need to factor in any possible loss of revenue resulting from the changeover to a new company.

In addition to obtaining the necessary licenses, rookies should consider earning a professional designation or two, such as the Certified Financial Planner or Chartered Life Underwriter. Credentials like these can help provide much-needed credibility and academic training for those who are new to the business or looking to expand their repertoire.

If you're a veteran in the business, however, licensing and training may not be a critical issue unless you are getting into a new line of work. For example, if you have an insurance business and plan to add investments or comprehensive financial planning to your practice, then you will need to be licensed (and perhaps certified) accordingly.

As with any other business, it is vital that independent financial planners begin with a sound written business plan . This plan should include:

Determining what kind of financial planning practitioner, you will be is an important decision. This choice involves both the type of services you will provide your clients as well as your method of compensation. Financial planners who work on commission tend to earn much more (on average) than fee-based planners.

Customers who specifically desire unbiased advice, however, usually seek out fee-based planners . Your personality type may play a role in making this choice; if you have an analytical mind and don't enjoy high-pressure sales, you may feel more at home with just running numbers and making recommendations.

On the other hand, if you are a Type-A personality who likes working with people, then you may have more success using a sales-based approach. The type of business model you decide to employ may also determine which licenses you will need to obtain.

#5. Build Professional Relationships

Establishing professional relationships is crucial for any budding financial planner, especially one without an established book of business. Finding an attorney or CPA who is willing to partner with you may be the best thing you could do for your business. A mentor can be equally important, particularly for newcomers to the business. Having someone to ask the advice of who can guide you through the difficult early stages is invaluable for those who are still learning the business.

If you both need and can afford it, then you will have to find and build an effective support team around you, whether it is a single assistant or an actual team of people. Making certain all of these pieces fit correctly will take some time and adjustment, but the end result should be a streamlined, efficient staff that allows the business to run smoothly and profitably.

#6. Know the Risks and Liabilities

Starting any business involves a certain amount of risk. There is the risk the business will generate insufficient revenue to survive, as well as risk from liability and other fiduciary responsibilities. All financial planners need indemnity insurance . Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance will guard against malpractice suits, but remember that ensuring regulatory compliance in your business will ultimately be your responsibility. All client complaints and problems must be dealt with in a professional manner to ensure the stability of the business.

Successful planners enjoy high (sometimes very high) compensation, virtual autonomy, and convenient office hours, as well as recognition within the community. But the best reward of all can be the sense of accomplishment that comes from helping a client achieve peace of mind by resolving a complex financial issue. Regardless of which type of reward you desire, the financial planning profession may well offer what you seek.

While starting a private financial planning practice undoubtedly involves a significant amount of work and risk, those who desire to do so should not let fear prevent them from realizing their dream. Many private and even corporate practitioners will readily tell you that financial planning is the best business in the world.

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How To Start A Consulting Business In 2023

Kelly Main

Reviewed By

Updated: Mar 3, 2023, 6:24am

How To Start A Consulting Business In 2023

Table of Contents

1. outline your plan, 2. register your consulting business, 3. determine services and pricing, 4. build your website, 5. market your consulting business, frequently asked questions.

Those with a high degree of expertise in a particular field can leverage their knowledge to build a profitable consulting business. Whether you’re in between jobs or looking to make a change, learning how to start a consulting business is the first step to making great use of your skills. In return, you can create a lucrative business and can charge upwards of $300 per hour–all for sharing your expertise with others. Here’s everything you need to know.

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To get started, you’ll want to put together a strong business plan. While you don’t have to stick to every single thing, it’s a good idea to have guidance for your business.

The first choice to make is your business name. Since you’re starting an individual consulting business, your business name can be your personal name as a trade name or a business name . If you have a name that you want to use that feels more recognizable and eye-catching, make sure you factor the registration costs into your original budget.

If you need to design a logo, you can do that yourself or reach out to designers. The logo will help you start marketing to your target audience, whether that’s business owners or companies or individuals. If you want to consult in a certain industry, you should start building a list of contacts to reach out to when you’re ready to launch and take on new clients.

With all of this information ready to go, you can start on the administrative side of your business.

Before you start doing official business, you’ll need to register with your state’s Secretary of State as a sole proprietorship or as an LLC. You should also check to see if there are other legal requirements for small businesses in your state. If you are planning to grow the business, registering as an LLC will make it easier to track your business expenses for taxes. It can cost about $50 to $100 to register your business online, depending on the state.

If you’re starting a consulting business as a side hustle, it might be worth it to invest in a business to register your LLC for you.

Start A Limited Liability Company Online Today with ZenBusiness

Click on the state below to get started.

Determining your rates also means determining what kind of services you want to offer. Consultants offer a variety of services. You can offer a wide range of support for a business, but do less of a deep dive. Alternatively, you can be hyper-specific in your expertise and go deep on a certain aspect of a company’s business. For example, if you’re an HR consultant, you can take a larger view of a company’s HR operations, or focus on their hiring practices for a specific department.

You should also consider if you want to take on short-term or long-term clients. Doing one-off consulting sessions is still a lot of work, even compared to long-term consulting. Your pricing strategy should reflect the amount of preparation you have to do. It also may depend on your industry to decide how you want to price your services: either a one-time payment, hourly rate or monthly retainer.

A consulting business needs a website so clients can find you easily. If a business is doing research into finding a consultant in your industry, you want your website to pop up for them. If you are familiar with SEO best practices , you can do this yourself, or hire someone to optimize your website.

Here are the best platforms for building a professional website:

Building a website can seem intimidating, but many of the best website builders make it easy for beginners to create a site without any experience or coding knowledge. However, keep in mind that websites do require ongoing maintenance, so you might want to hire a virtual assistant or work some time into your calendar to do regular website maintenance and updating.

Marketing a new business can be difficult, but being diligent about finding new marketing channels and leveraging connections will make it a lot easier. Try these simple and low-cost solutions to start marketing.

Working on this yourself, in the beginning, will require a fair amount of time, but when your business grows, you might be able to hire a social media strategist or partner to work on finding business leads.

Where can a consulting business find government contracts to apply for?

You can look on this website that lists government agencies that take contractors and consultants .

How can a consulting business get clients using Fiverr?

Fiverr allows anyone to sign up and sell their services as a freelancer. A lot of companies looking for freelance writing, design or marketing work use Fiverr, so it would be a good place to do consulting for content strategy.

Is it possible to start a consulting business on the side?

If you are comfortable with working with a smaller number of clients and are realistic about your time, you can easily run a consulting business on the side. It’s important to be open with your clients about your time constraints to build trust.

What are some good fields to start a consulting business in?

The consulting business you start is going to be based on your strengths and skills, but some of the potential fields where you might enjoy some of the most success include public relations, publishing, human resources (HR) marketing, computer programming, career consulting, advertising and accounting.

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Kelly is an SMB Editor specializing in starting and marketing new ventures. Before joining the team, she was a Content Producer at Fit Small Business where she served as an editor and strategist covering small business marketing content. She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and she holds an MSc in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. Additionally, she manages a column at Inc. Magazine.

How to Start your own Financial Planning Firm

A financial advising business helps people set financial goals and plan out a course of action to realize it. Financial planners who work for the business help clients by analyzing budgets, investments, insurance, and other financial products. They make plans for clients and serve a vital role in today’s world, since they have advanced knowledge of both basic and complex financial concepts. They can also teach their clients how to make their own financial plans and act as a coach or guide.

Most people find finance inherently difficult to understand, so a financial planning business bridges the knowledge gap while providing extensive support and tools for clients. The best financial planning businesses don’t just sell products and services. They transform peoples’ lives and get them to think seriously and deeply about money and how it impacts their life and the world.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services .

Learn how to start your own Financial Planning Firm and whether it is the right fit for you.

Financial Planning Firm Image

Start a financial planning firm by following these 10 steps:

There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your financial planning firm. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas .

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

How much can you charge customers?

What will you name your business.

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a financial planning firm?

Starting a firm requires you to become a registered investment advisor (RIA), registered with your state. You will spend between $10,000 and $20,000 for basic startup costs. Some of these include office rent, your legal documentation (including your form ADV client brochure and fee disclosure), and fees for your vendors. You’ll also need a good contract with a custodian.

What are the ongoing expenses for a financial planning firm?

Ongoing expenses include office upkeep and business liability insurance, rent, errors and omissions insurance, account maintenance fees for a custodian, and labor costs for any staff you retain.

Who is the target market?

The target market for most financial planners is middle-income. However, some advisors find that the upper middle-class or high net worth market is more worthwhile. Bottom line: choose a market that can afford your services and that has money to invest.

How does a financial planning firm make money?

Financial advisory firms make money by charging clients for financial advice, comprehensive plans, and modular plans. Many advisories also charge a fee for managing investments. The fee is usually a percentage of the assets held under management.

The typical fee for assets under management is between 1% and 2%. A typical comprehensive financial plan will cost between $1,800 and $10,000, depending on the client and his or her needs.

How much profit can a financial planning firm make?

A financial planning firm can be very profitable. Most firms have profit margins exceeding 10%, and the most successful ones have profits margins exceeding 20%.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Make your firm more successful by specializing in a specific type of financial planning. For example, you could choose to specialize in education planning, retirement planning, financial planning for millennials, or even non-investment planning.

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Financial Planning Firm Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship , you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name , we recommend researching your business name by checking:

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Find a Domain Now

Powered by, step 2: form a legal entity.

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC) , and corporation .

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your financial planning firm is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services . You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil .

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Open net 30 accounts

Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.

NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

Recommended : Read our best net 30 vendors , guide and start building business credit.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a financial planning business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits .

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses .

For information about local licenses and permits:

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance . This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance .

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance . If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your Financial Planning Firm will cost.

Business Insurance for Financial Planning Firm

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners , we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended : Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker .

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator . Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a financial planning firm

Promote your business in your local community using business cards and attend networking events. Let friends, family, and business associates know that you’ve opened a new firm.

How to keep customers coming back

Most clients are reluctant to leave a financial planning firm. However, you can increase the likelihood that they won’t leave by offering clients an immersive experience. Develop a unique culture that fits with your target market.

For example, if your target market is primarily millennials, or younger clients, consider offering perks that they might enjoy.

Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business .

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

Using our website building guides , the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

Recommended : Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders .

Other popular website builders are: WordPress , WIX , Weebly , Squarespace , and Shopify .

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Start a Financial Planning Firm in your State

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Is this Business Right For You?

A financial planner is usually the individual who owns a financial advisory firm. To sit in the CEO’s chair, you must be comfortable working long hours, have a passion for all things financial, and have a special interest in human psychology. 

Many financial decisions are not just about the numbers. They are about the client’s behaviors and how he or she views the world. For example, some investors are concerned about the environment and may eschew investments in fossil fuels, regardless of the mutual fund’s or stock’s long-term return to investors.

Other investors may be more concerned with protecting their principal and earning a conservative rate of return. These investors might only be willing to invest in bonds and bond funds, annuities, permanent life insurance, and conservative bank products.

Some clients may not be comfortable investing their money at all or may not be ready to. Others may need help reigning in spending, or they may be so focused on saving money that they’re living an unhappy life and are coming to you for advice on what to do. Understanding the psychology of different types of people and how each of your clients relates to money will enable you to gain their trust and best serve their long-term financial interests.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a financial planning firm?

Financial planners do a lot of different things during the day. One of the most important tasks is prospecting and marketing. Even large financial firms need to constantly bring in new clients and service existing ones.

Many firms focus on “assets under management” or “AUM”. The more assets under management, the more the firm makes. Thus, most marketing efforts are geared toward bringing more assets to the firm.

Whether that’s making phone calls every day to existing clients (or new prospects), sending out direct mailers, or giving talks and lectures or holding seminars, the principal advisor in a firm is busy.

A financial planner also meets with clients or oversees meetings with his or her top advisors (who meet with clients). A financial planner also sends faxes, drafts financial plans for clients, does a multitude of calculations on financial planning software, and spends time keeping tabs on the financial markets.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful financial planning firm?

Financial advisors typically have at least some formal education and training in financial planning. Some colleges, like the American College, are set up specifically for this purpose. The specific skills needed by a financial planner include basic and advanced money management skills, the ability to explain complex financial concepts in simple terms, and a deep understanding of financial math, financial markets, and its relevance to human life.

What is the growth potential for a financial planning firm?

A financial planning firm can be small or large. Many firms are one-person operations. However, some financial advisors grow their firms into multi million-dollar companies. Blue Ocean Global Wealth is one example of a large planning firm. Edelman Financial Services is another example of a firm that grew into a household name.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor.

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a financial planning firm?

Jump starting your business is easier if you’ve already owned or operated an RIA. Getting clients from existing business or moving clients over from your old broker-dealer relationships will help. Sometimes, however, this cannot be done. Leverage your relationships in your local community.

How and when to build a team

Build a team as soon as you can afford to do so. It doesn’t have to be immediately, however. Most professional financial planners can manage up to 200 to 250 clients without hiring help.

Get more ideas with our Business Ideas Generator .

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

Sign up at the Business Center to access useful tools for your business.

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How to Start Your Own Financial Advisory Business

Financial Advisory Business

You have a passion for finance and want to make financial advisory your career. Many people have a desire to start their businesses. However, success as a business owner is easier said than done. Many businesses do not survive their first year.

It is so important to start strong and set yourself up for success. The best way is to begin on a solid foundation. No two businesses are the same and different industries require different preparation. If you want to have the best chance of success in your financial advisory business , these are the steps you can’t afford to skip.

Foundational E’s: Education and Experience

Before you can start a financial advisory business, there are a few important foundation elements. Education is key. You first need to earn your bachelor’s degree. Additionally, it is customary to have a strong background in economics, accounting, business, or finance. But education isn’t where it ends.

Once you have the knowledge and the degree, you need the experience. An internship is a great way to learn on the job and to prove yourself. You’ll have the opportunity to work with a Senior Financial Advisor and gain a wealth of knowledge.

Hopefully, your internship will lead to employment and the work experience you will need to set off on your own.  

Get Down To Business

Like any business, having a solid plan is instrumental to your success moving forward. And for a financial advisor, it is crucial to have an iron-clad business plan.

As a financial advisory professional, your plan should address your goals and strategies. It should also include your analysis of the financial markets, and what will make your firm stand out. Having a clear map to follow is key to ensuring success.    

Find Your People

Finding your specific base of clients is vital to your success as a financial advisor. Knowing who you are marketing to will help you to target them more effectively. Focusing on what you are offering, and how to offer it to your target audience, can lead to a better experience for your clients.

When figuring out who your client base should be, their gross income should not be at the top of the list. Instead, working to be the premier financial advisor to whatever group you target is a better approach. For example, if you know you want to focus on entertainment executives, it becomes easier to develop an effective strategy to become their go-to.

Discipline for Productivity

Running your own financial advisory business will be nothing if not time-consuming. You will have so much to do which can be very overwhelming. So don’t beat yourself up. But, do try to stack up some consistent high productivity days . Plan your goals and execute them.

Try making a list in preparation for your day with all the things you want to accomplish and then attack the list. Every day cannot be as productive as next, but if you have a plan of action to fall into, you can get more done.

Know Your Risk and Prepare


Having your own financial advisory business will come with inherent risk. This type of fiduciary responsibility does create the risk of liability for you. Your business must stay in proper compliance with local, state, and federal laws. And you must have the proper licensing for the financial services you offer.

With so much risk involved, obtaining the appropriate insurance to protect you is very important. Indemnity insurance is ideal for financial advisory professionals. Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance is crucial to help protect you from being sued for malpractice.

Make sure your protections are in place and you are in compliance to have the best chance for success.

Use Your Feelings

Running a business is a lot of work, and not always the work you thought you signed up for. There are so many administrative duties involved in running a business that it can be easy to lose sight of the passion that drove you to start it in the first place. But remembering those feelings is essential.

Recognizing the drive you have for advising others and helping them to secure their financial future is key to your success. The reasons that you were drawn to finance are what should shine through in the essence of your business and all of the outreach, marketing, and branding that you choose to represent your business.

If you can express the feelings that make financial advisory fulfilling for you, it will attract those who require your help. Also, stepping into your client’s shoes to truly understand them will help you to better serve them. Knowing and feeling their concerns, goals, and needs, will create a relationship of trust and insight which can help in your success in retaining clients.

Start Making Your Mark

Making Your Mark

You’ve acquired the education and experience in financial advisory and now it’s time to share your knowledge with those who seek it! Remember that planning is everything, especially if you intend to help others plan. Making sure that you have a complete and executable business plan is a great way to start your business with the best chance to succeed.

Make sure your marketing strategy is built to attract the clients you want and to focus on specific groups that will keep referring you to more clients in their field. Remember, you are going to be the person to help solve their specific problems and help them grow, so be disciplined in your own business goals and productivity.

Once you have your clients, you must make sure that your business sticks around. Make sure that you stay in legal compliance, that your licenses are current, and that you are insured. You can’t help others with their financial goals if your business is not in order.

And don’t forget to use your heart as well as your head to reach clients on a personal level and to help yourself to stay focused on why you decided to take this leap in the first place.

If you follow these tips, your financial advisory business will be in a great position to do well.

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If you’re working in a firm as a financial advisor and want to offer financial advisory services independently, it’s the most logical thing to do now. But, even if you’re currently studying business or economics to become a financial advisor, you should know that the financial advisor business is booming. With more and more people turning towards investments and insurance, it will be a rewarding career for years to come. So, here is our take on how to start a financial advisor business.

How to Start a Financial Advisor Business

Step 1: looking up your demand.

The first step towards learning how to start a financial advisor business is searching for your demand. Next, you must identify your microniche within the financial advisory domain and invest your skills and time. You can go for any subdomains, including financial planning, insurance, investments, loans, mortgages, etc. However, investments and financial planning have the highest chances of scaling up, and these niches never go irrelevant.

But regardless of which area you pick, your hard work and expertise decide how successful you become. So, once you’ve identified which area you want to specialize in, it’s time to sit down and plan for the following practical stages. Keep reading to learn more about how to start a financial advisor business.

Step 2: Preparing Your Credentials

Whether you work in a firm or have a financial advisor business, having the proper licenses and credentials is crucial. In addition, no matter your country, you will need different licenses to distribute different products and services.

For instance, if you’re offering financial planning services, you would need some financial planning credentials, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP). With the proper certifications and licenses, you have the authority to offer financial services.

Some other helpful certifications for financial advisors include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA). However, CFP and the CFA are two of the most-sought certifications in financial advisory.

Step 3: Finding the Right Distribution Method

When you work in a company as a financial advisor, you know that you don’t have to worry about the distribution side. You work as part of a big organization connected to the stock exchange and custodians.

However, since you’re still reading this article and learning how to start a financial advisor business, we assume you want to start working independently.

Hence, you need to take care of all this, and that’s where most people get stuck. You need clients to put your efforts into the right place and kickstart your business.

Once you start getting clients, you need to make financial plans for them and get them insured by any of the big insurance companies in your country. But that’s a lot of work that a new business probably doesn’t have the resources to do.

This is the most crucial stage for people looking for a plan to start a financial advisor business. You need access to the Managing General Agents (MGAs) and market dealers so they can link you with the world of investments already existing.

This helps because now you don’t have to go to investment or insurance companies to get services for your clients. Instead, these distributors will do all of that for you.

Step 4: Setting up Your Business Structure

Next, you need to work on setting up your business structure. Once you’re connected with any MGA or a financial planning software company, you’ll find they don’t work with you unless you are a registered corporation.

You must have a legal entity to sign the contract with these MGAs and financial planning companies. So, you must go to a lawyer and get yourself documented as a corporation.

Once registered, you must have your corporation name and bank account.

With time, you will realize that keeping a separate bank account is crucial in setting up a financial advisor business. It influences everything from your daily transactions to taxes. After all of these formalities, you now have a business structure that allows you to carry forward your services.

Step 5: Focusing on Customer Experience

Once you’ve figured out your niche, gotten relevant certifications and licenses, established your business structure, and found the correct distribution method, you’ve learned how to start a financial advisor business. Now it’s up to you to expand your business and deal with your clients.

You can probably link up an app to make things easier for your clients or use any financial planning software that meets your client’s needs in a better and more systematic way.

Plenty of financial planning software out there automates things for you and improves your efficiency. Some areas where you would require financial planning tools include customer relationship management, portfolio management, document management, etc. Most financial advisors use more than one software, but it is totally up to you how you go about that.

1. How to get clients after learning how to start a financial advisor business?

Some ways you can acquire clients include online social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, joining small business think tanks, or attending local networking events. All these places help you make connections that eventually get clients for your business.

2. How to start a fee-only financial planning firm?

To start a free-only financial firm, you can start by getting the relevant certifications. Plenty of institutes help aspiring financial advisors get certifications and licenses for free.

3. How to build a book of business as a financial advisor?

As a financial advisor, you can build a book of business in several ways, such as using referrals, social media, public relations, and websites. These areas allow you to showcase your expertise and convince people how you can add value to their financial planning journey.

Many finance students and those already working in the finance industry think of setting up a financial advisor business at some point. But most of them don’t have a clear direction on how to start a financial advisor business. You can start by pinpointing the area you want to specialize in, getting the relevant certifications and licenses, setting up your business structure, and finding clients.

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