Today vs. Ideal Future: Closing the Gap

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By Nate Biddick, director of practice development, 1st Global

Annual business planning typically involves looking at your business and comparing where you are to where you want to be. The strength of your vision for where you want to be is also known as your goal. Your goal is restrained only by the courage and reach of your imagination. The gap between today and goal is the subject of this article. By identifying the gap, you can work backward from your ideal future to name the objectives to lead you toward the overall goal.

But if you knew how to close that gap, you would have done it already, right? 1st Global provides business-building expertise and thought leadership to help identify and close the gap. One technique we employ is a proven method to counteract strategy deficiency by analyzing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, (SWOT). By performing a SWOT analysis you can begin to develop strategies to help you close the gap between today and your vision of the ideal future.

First ask yourself what is your desired end state or objective. Be cautious to avoid creating a SWOT analysis based on where you are today; this exercise is to cultivate forward looking strategies, not to reinforce the current state of affairs. After writing down this information, assess if the objective is honestly achievable.

Here are questions to lead you through each category and to stimulate your thinking as you consider each box:


  • What internal strengths can we capitalize on to achieve our vision?
  • What do we do better than anyone else?
  • What is our Value Proposition?
  • What do our clients see as our strengths?
  • Why should a client work with us?


  • What are weaknesses within our firm that could undermine our vision?
  • What do we do now that we could do better?
  • What are the major internal obstacles to reaching our firm objectives and vision?
  • What do our clients see as our weaknesses (whether it is true or not)?


  • What external opportunities can we capitalize on to achieve our vision?
  • Which 1st Global Method 10™ categories have we never fully introduced to our clients?
  • What services do our clients need that we do not provide? Have we asked them?
  • What do client data trends in our tax base indicate about opportunities to provide wealth management services?
  • Does everyone in our firm believe in our Value Proposition enough to actively deliver it to our clients?


  • What are the external threats that could undermine our goal and vision?
  • Are there any internal threats that actively work against us reaching our firm objectives and vision?
  • Do we keep up to date on the industry as a whole? (Examples: trade publications, professional associations, thought leaders)

Lastly, as you create your strategies, be sure to separate those things you can control from those you can’t. Creating a business building strategy based upon factors you cannot control such as whatever storms the media, market, legislature or future may bring, is a gamble. Instead, creating strategies around factors you can control, such as calling clients for conversations based on 1st Global’s Method 10™ planning or holding 1st Global client seminars to demonstrate retirement income planning opportunities to clients, is a much more secure proposition.

Remember Abraham Lincoln’s words: “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Create small controllable and actionable goals from your larger strategies to move you closer to your vision for your firm on a daily or weekly basis. By using your strengths and opportunities as a starting point, your business growth strategies will be based on a strong and solid foundation and ensure achievement of your ideal future.

This Wealth Management article has been provided by 1st Global. With more than 500 firms affiliated with 1st Global, it is one of the largest wealth management services partners for the tax, accounting and legal professions. 1st Global delivers the required capabilities essential for wealth management excellence including progressive ongoing education, which places the firm in a unique position to offer wealth management knowledge.

1st Global was founded by CPAs on the belief that accounting, tax and estate planning firms are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive wealth management services to their clients. Each affiliated firm is provided with education, technology, business-building framework and client solutions that make these firms leaders in their professions through dedicated professional client relationships built around wealth management.

1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 8150 N. Central Expressway, Suite 500 in Dallas, Texas, (214) 265-1201. Investment advisory services offered through 1st Global Advisors, Inc., an SEC-Registered Investment Adviser. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at


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