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Value Creation Blog

How To Fire An Advisor

Posted by Josh Patrick

youre fired resized 600If you’re a business owner you’ve had to fire employees.  I also bet you’ve had to fire an advisor.  You might not think of it as a firing, but it is.  You’ve decided you no longer want to work with an advisor, a consultant, or a coach.  I believe it’s just as important to fire an advisor using the same principles as firing an employee.

Should you give you advisor a warning?

I’ve had clients stop doing business with me.  Most of the time it’s not a big surprise.  With these clients I don’t really need a warning, I know it’s coming.  At the same time, it would be nice if those clients told me they were unhappy with me and why.

The one that’s always hard for me to deal with is when I get removed out of the blue.  I get an email or in the olden days a letter that would say my services were no longer needed.  These out of the blue firings are the disturbing ones.  They’re the ones that I wish I had a reason.  I usually thought things were going well and bam, the email comes.  I’ll wonder for months what happened.

The real issue here is whether you should give your advisor a warning before firing them.  I believe the answer is yes.  What do you think?

Be willing to have an exit interview.

I know it’s uncomfortable.  Whether you fire your advisor via a letter, an email, or on the phone, be prepared to have an exit interview with them.  When you hired your advisor you probably thought they could add value.  It might be that you’ve come to a natural end of the engagement or it could be they aren’t filling your needs. 

Whatever the reason, your advisor needs an honest conversation.  Both you and your advisor will learn something.  It’s the least that you can do.

You will have to decide how you’re going to fire your advisor.

I think this is a big decision.  It probably should start when you hire your advisor.  I think the best thing to do is to have a conversation upfront about how long you expect to work with an advisor.  Obviously the length of relationship you’re going to have will depend on what profession the advisor comes from.

You might want to have a long-term relationship with your lawyer and accountant.  On the other hand, you might want a short term and strongly identifiable time frame for a provider that might help you choose a software package.  The challenge is the in between relationships.  Ones that could last for a long time, or just last for a few months.  Either way, you might want to think about how long you want the relationship to last before you start.

When it comes time to end your relationship with your advisor, think of them as employees.  I’ve been on both ends.  When I’ve let advisors go, I will want to have a conversation with them to tell them why.  When I’ve been let go, I always appreciate that sort of conversation.  It lets me learn what I could do differently.  I get to integrate that information into how I work and make adjustments that are appropriate.

Have a system for hiring advisors.

I’ve written a lot about how to hire employees effectively.  I encourage you to use the very same system when you hire an outside advisor.  After all, isn’t an advisor an adjunct member of your staff?  Wouldn’t you want to have the same type of fit for an advisor that you have with a great employee?  I think this only makes sense.

My question to you is do you think about your advisors as employees?  If not, why not?  Don’t you think they deserve the same consideration as when you have to either fire or lay off an employee?  I can tell you that your advisor thinks they deserve that courtesy.

I’ve written a case study on how to hire for unique abilities.  This special report is aimed at having great employees join your company.  The very same principles can be used for hiring great advisors, consultants, and coaches.  To get your copy of this case study, click on the button below.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: business coaching, advisors, unique ability

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