We received a GREAT question today. While we certainly have thoughts on it, we turned to LinkedIn to get YOUR thoughts. The question is:
“As an internal, who’s worked for a top firm for the past four years, looking to be an external, would you leave to become an external at a smaller firm, in a major metro territory, or stick around at my current firm for another 12-18 months to for the chance to take over a non metro area?”
What would your advice be?
”1. Location, location, location: where is the opportunity? Is it somewhere you can develop relationships to take with you to your next role?
In my interview experience, big firms always want to know who you know. I don’t think it is a good idea to become an external in a location you do not want to live in and develop a territory. If you’re only taking the job to “get off the desk,” it probably won’t work out in the long run.
2. Do you really have what it takes to work at a small firm? Small firms have limited resources, including limited budgets, value add, etc. Are you creative and persistent enough to push the boulder up hill everyday?
If you think scheduling in hard at a Tier 1 firm, try it at a small firm, when you first have to explain who your firm is, and then fight to get the appointment.
3. What is the value proposition of the small firm’s product? In today’s market place, BDs are cutting product not adding it. Can you really make a difference, or does your product have a unique value proposition that will make an Advisor want to use it?
Just being a top performer is not enough!
4. What is your end-game? Again are you just taking this role to “get off the desk?” How will moving to the small firm help you develop and grow in the long run? How can you leverage your experience to land your next role?
What would your opportunity be if you were a little more patient? Will you be better off staying on the desk for another 6 months?”
“It’s difficult to snag an external role without experience so if you have the opportunity to get that experience I’d take it. In addition you’ll be making relationships in the metro area are that will be valuable to you at any firm. Things can change a lot in 12-18 months.”
“I would think about where you want to live and which firm gets you there and then go and plant your flag.”
“Take opportunities as they’re presented. Review them individually but don’t pass on something that gets you experience regardless of company size.
I agree with Fred in that you should live where you want and find the work from there.
Work is work but your happiness and quality life will determine how hard you’re going to be willing to work in any given opportunity. If you take a external role in a place where you may not necessarily want to be, you’re more apt to burn out or be unhappy and that’s a recipe for disaster.
Also, you may want to keep in touch with some of the folks in this commentary feed (including me) because leveraging a network can get you into many conversations you may not have gotten into previously.”
“I think this is all about weighing long term vs short term benefits.
While this is not an easy decision, I lean towards staying at the big firm for more long term opportunities. At bigger companies, the sky’s the limit. Smaller companies may have an eventual ceiling for growth.
There is no shortcut to building a strong reputation, and that holds great value when considering a switch because your reputation can unexpectedly propel you forward. If you’re a top performer, you’ll surely rebuild again, but it boils down to time. I like the look at my goals and reverse engineer them. I think the better question is, which path helps you get where you want to be 5 years from now?”
“My advice. Stretch. Too much time in one company is not necessarily good.”
“Big vs Small. Established vs Start Up. Metro vs Non. All of these are important and need to be weighed in their totality. Plus, minus, pros, cons. Obviously, you need to be thorough in your consideration. But…
If the decision isn’t easy – – if you can’t legitimately say to yourself that you’d be a FOOL to pass on the opportunity at hand – – then it’s probably worth waiting.
If the firm feels like you’re the perfect person for them and the role… and, at the SAME TIME, you feel like it and the role is perfect for YOU… the decision will be easy. And it should be. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”
“Big is not the key to being beautiful. Look at the big picture: to become big sometimes you may have to start small. What are the things that would draw you to moving on for a promotion? That might be a good place to start.”
“A lot more has to be taken into consideration than the geography you are covering (metro vs non).
What is the strength of product that you would have access to?
Name recognition of the Firm?
Technology at your disposal and depth of value add content to deliver?
Also consider your reputation where you currently are and know you have to build that from scratch at a new role. Also know the commitment to get you out in that time span at your current firm.
Things change fast.”
One thing we would add:
While changing firms to grab your golden wholesaling ring has been addressed so well above, one thing we believe strongly in is this: if you are on the desk, and a promotional opportunity arises in the field with your current firm, take it.
And yes, that may mean moving from the Big Apple to [insert any place else here].
Getting your timecard stamped “external wholesaler” is no easy task.
Do you have something to add? Here’s the post at LinkedIn.