Three Ideas to Jumpstart Your 2019 Strategic Planning and Growth Mindset

Quarter four tends to be a very exciting, pressure-filled time for entrepreneurial advisors. You are pushing to hit and exceed goals while juggling personal commitments and client schedules (…and celebrations that feel like they fill up every remaining free moment).

On top of that, whether intentionally or not, you drift into a higher state of contemplation. You reflect on your performance, the performance of your team, how easy or hard it was to hit your goals. Even though you are a leader in your space, you find yourself thinking about the skills you lack; the knowledge or expertise deficits in yourself or in your firm that if corrected could mean a better workplace with increased talent, more client opportunity, and exponential growth.

You aren’t alone.

In fact, this annualized mindfulness is one of the big things you have in common with business owners, too. We all tend to look inward as we sprint to the December 31 finish line. Maybe it’s our “runner’s high” that helps us clear our minds and begin crafting plans for how next year will be built on a foundation of this year’s lessons learned. You have likely already identified a handful of things that if you could learn, incorporate, hire for, or change them, your firm would reap benefits.

As you strive for a strong finish to 2018 and plan for an even more fruitful 2019, here is a list of three ideas and upcoming educational programs to help you glean insights from yourself and your team, expand your knowledge in a less familiar space, and help you achieve the growth you desire:

1. Conduct a Start/Stop Workshop.

Book a three-hour workshop with your team and ask everyone to come prepared with the three pieces of feedback that answer each of the following questions:

  • What is the best thing we do as a company?
  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we stop doing?

Start with the “best thing.” Go around the room and ask everyone to share their items. List all feedback on a flipchart page and once everyone has gone, move onto the next question. Once you’ve collected feedback for all three questions, hang up the feedback sheets side-by-side on the wall and ask each person to vote on the top three things they think are most important to the company’s growth in 2019.

Tally up the votes and try to identify any themes or trends you see in the feedback. Are you leaning toward sales and marketing initiatives? Do you need more professional development training on our team? Do you have a client retention issue that needs solving? Is there an outdated process that is slowing your people down and could be dropped altogether?

> Contact Scott Snider for more information on strategic coaching and mentorship options.

2. Read two books.

A common best practice of the ultra-successful, reading lends to greater business results. In the next 60 days, choose two new books that can expand your ability to think creatively about your business as a whole or in a specific area you have identified needs attention. Here are a couple of my favorites you might consider:

  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create an Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant; W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  • Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing; W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  • Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t; Verne Harnish
  • Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A”; Garry O. Ridge and Kenneth H. Blanchard
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead; Sheryl Sandberg
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ; Daniel Goleman

If you aren’t trained in exit planning yet, check out the EPI bookstore and consider reading books like Walking to Destiny: 11 Actions an Owner Must Take to Rapidly Grow Value and Unlock Wealth and many other books that can be useful for both you and your business owner clients.

3. Learn a relevant skill that you immediately use.

EPI is an education company committed to bringing you the best content in the industry (whether offered by our experts or others). Working with a diverse group of providers that serve advisors like you helps us offer a highly relevant lineup of programs for your consideration. If you are looking for highly valuable, immediately useful, and convenient continuing education programs in Q4, check out the list below:

Need advanced training in value growth engagements?

  • Certified Value Growth Advisor (CVGA) Program: Advanced Value Growth Credentialing Training offered by Corporate Value Metrics, LLC: Dec 3-7, 2018; up to 40 CPE hours (Boston, MA) [learn more] [view brochure] **

Need launch and implementation strategies for your exit planning practice?

  • Accelerate Your Exit Planning Practice Virtual Workshop: Intensive Practice Launch Training offered by award-winning leader, Julie Keyes, CEPA of KeyeStrategies: Five-part webinar training: Dec 14, 2018; Jan 4; Jan 18; Feb 1; Feb 15, 2019 (Live Online Workshop) [learn more] **
  • Exit Planning Practice Launch Webinar: Two-hour practical applications training, taught by CEO and award-winning leader, Christopher Snider, CEPA of Exit Planning Institute: November 28 from 12:00 P.M.-2:00 P.M. ET (Live Online Training) [learn more] [register now $199]

Need practical “no-nonsense” marketing and sales training?

  • How to Sell Exit Planning Services Workshop: CEPA Business Development Training taught by EPI leaders, Scott Snider and K. Brooke Norman: November 16 (on the fifth day of the CEPA credentialing program); up to 6 CPE hours (Chicago, IL) [learn more] [register now $700]
  • Free Webinar: How to Use the Value Acceleration Methodology in Your Practice and in Your Marketing: November 29 from 1:00 P.M.-1:45 P.M. ET [learn more] [register now]
  • Free Webinar: Marketing Outlook and Insights for 2019 Planning: December 19 from 1:00 P.M.-1:45 P.M. ET [learn more] [register now]

Need to learn the basics of exit planning and the Value Acceleration Methodology?

  • Certificate in Exit Planning (CEP) Online Program: Five-part webinar training taught by EPI Vice President, Scott Snider: Dec 17-21, 2018 from 11:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. ET (Live Online Training) [learn more] [register now $500]

**Note: The Certified Value Growth Advisor (CVGA) Program hosted by Ken Sanginario of Corporate Value Metrics and the Accelerate Your Exit Planning Practice Virtual Workshop hosted by Julie Keyes of KeyeStrategies are private educational options; these are not EPI products.

Leverage industry expertise and collaboration to expand your future growth potential.

No different than your business owner clients, you are wise to spend time working on your business (not just in it). As you make new plans that will take you to new heights, please feel encouraged to reach out to the EPI team to find tools, content, resources, programs, insights, and opportunities that can help. We are your partner in exit planning.

EPI works with thousands of advisors every year to provide the best content in the industry, ongoing practice support, and an owner education platform that bridges the gap between you and educated owners. Learn more about our history, team, faculty, the CEPA credential, chapter community, provider network, and the EPI Global Platform by visiting


More than a credentialing company.

“This Methodology is Going to Supercharge My Practice!” -Justin Goodbread, CEPA, CFP®

Official ‘Exit Planning’ Definition: Exit planning combines the plan, concept, effort, and process into a clear, simple strategy to build a business that is transferable through strong human, structural, customer, and social capital. The future of the business owner, his/her family, and the business itself are addressed by exit planning through creating value today.

Exit planning is not just a plan (or a keyed-in report to print out for an owner). It is a strategy rooted in execution that grows value while expanding options so that an owner can transition the business on his/her terms when they are ready. It aligns the business, personal, and financial needs of the owner. Good exit planning utilizes the Value Acceleration Methodology™ to move clients through discovery, prepare, and decide gates. Certified Exit Planning Advisors (CEPA) educate the owner on all of the exit options and enters an engagement with an exit-option-agnostic perspective as to truly serve the business owner’s diverse needs. CEPAs collaborate with a seasoned, multi-disciplinary team of professionals to support the success of the business owner and use each other’s specialties and expertise to the benefit of the project. [view the award-winning methodology]

“Why did I earn CEPA when I already had an exit planning designation? Simple, the network. The quality of the EPI advisor network is unmatched.” -Paul Meyer, CEPA, CBEC

Do you consider your COIs or your referral network as the #1 source for new business? Look no further for your next membership affiliation. Formed in 2005 to serve educational and resource needs of financial planners and wealth managers, CPA/accountants, attorneys, commercial lenders, M&A advisors and business brokers, management consultants and other business advisors, the Exit Planning Institute is considered the standard trendsetter in the field of exit planning across the globe. It is the only organization that offers the Certified Exit Planning Advisor Program (CEPA) and qualifies for continuing education credits with twelve major professional associations, making it the most widely accepted and endorsed professional exit planning program in the world. [find a CEPA in your area]

“As a CPA, nothing is more important than exit planning.” -Bill Kenedy, CPA/ABV, CFF, CEPA

Our founders paved the way for the organization we are today. In the past three years alone, EPI has grown by more than ten times. We support and enable thousands of professional advisors who are leading the way in their local marketplaces across the globe. We invite you to join the community and experience the EPI difference.

We are powered by a dedicated staff, industry experts, and market leaders, that are passionate about providing top professional advisors the best industry content, ongoing practice support, and owner education resources. From humble beginnings, EPI has grown to become the exit planning market leader while staying focused and true to our mission. We are an education company that certifies and supports more than 900 CEPAs (and counting) as well as thousands of advisors worldwide through national, regional, chapter, and virtual education. Explore our history and make plans to play a part in our future. [explore the EPI history timeline snapshot]

“You want to have the best credential in the industry. So my advice is that you have to go with Exit Planning Institute.” -Vincent Mastrovito, CEPA, CBEC

Do you want help in an increasingly commoditized or oversaturated marketplace? Do you want just another designation for your business card or do you want the credentialing education that helps you adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing industry? You’ve come to the right place.

The Exit Planning Institute creates an exit planning “ecosystem,” and due to the diverse nature of exit planning, EPI has fostered a hyper-engaged exit planning community. This community includes CEPAs, other collaborative advisors, strategic alliance partners, academicians, the media, and business owners from across the globe made up of 15 countries, 44 U.S. States and representing over a dozen different professional disciplines. To serve this elite and cross-functional community on one major platform, EPI produces the best content as it relates to exit planning, succession planning, and value acceleration, provides ongoing advisor support and practice development, and creates connectivity to transitioning business owners. [connect with us today]


Explore the unmatched professional development experience and gain your next competitive edge in 2019.

The Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) Program is the most widely endorsed and accepted exit planning designation in the marketplace today. Experience the EPI difference and determine if earning the CEPA designation is the next strategic move for you to reinvent yourself in a changing marketplace. Visit today.