When starting a business, you are the boss, janitor, and everything in between. You must recognize not every task is going to be what you want to do. You need to tie up your boots and get it done. Having this mentality can reduce negativity and help keep moving the company forward.
Tim was born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT. His mother was a nurse, and his father a firefighter. On the side, his father owned and operated a tile business, leading Tim to start cleaning buckets at the age of eight. The opportunity to play collegiate football brought Tim to Wisconsin. He studied Economics at Lawrence University and played every football game in multiple positions over his four-year tenure and was a team captain his Junior and Senior seasons. After earning a B.A. in Economics, Tim entered the banking industry for a short time before taking a position at a large independent wealth management firm in Northern Wisconsin. Tim started there in an administrative role and climbed his way into operations and financial planning. Tim moved to Madison after being recruited by a medium sized firm to create and head up a financial planning effort. He currently holds a series 65 and in 2016, Tim became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). In addition, he is currently enrolled in the Certified Private Wealth Advisor Program (CPWA) at Yale University. Tim resides in Madison with his fiancée Kaitlin and their Mini Goldendoodle Miller.
Where did the idea for Leach, Bickmore & Weiss Wealth Management, LLC come from?
LBW was derived from three entrepreneurs’ passion to solve business challenges. We saw an opportunity to change the perception of an industry that has a tarnished reputation and that receives very little trust from the consumer market As we explored and grew in our careers we had the realization that other firms in our area weren’t holding up to the standards we wanted to set out for ourselves. So, out of necessity we started our own firm.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My role at LBW spans multiple areas– including leading client meetings, compiling holistic financial plans, support work for others in the office, business development, content development, volunteering with non-profit organizations, strategic planning, etc. As a business owner my task list is rarely linear, and as the company grows and changes my role is ever evolving.
There are so many articles, books, and other materials on productivity – I heard great ideas about batching work, creating daily task lists, among many others. All these answers pushed me into, “I can do this mode”! So, of course I tried many different workflows – all failed miserably. The key productivity tip that I missed was the need to take care of yourself. If I got 8 hours of sleep, ate regular meals, and did some sort of exercise for 30min-45min a day, naturally I became more productive. Once I figured this out, I was able to implement a few of the strategies that I learned about:
i) Don’t try to multitask and focus on one thing at a time.
ii) Learn what is important and urgent and delegate tasks appropriately.
iii) Learn to say no. You don’t have to do everything for everyone (but don’t use this as an excuse to just say no)
How do you bring ideas to life?
As a true visionary on our team ideas come fast and furious. In our infancy every new idea was THE idea and we’d jump in head first without checking the landscape first. Fast forward roughly three years I am still coming up with new ideas in the shower, in the car, while I’m sleeping etc. The difference is my approach to bring an idea to life involves vetting the concept to determine its true value; and then generating a project plan reasonable execution strategy.
Ideation value I gauge relative to time. For example, the internet is arguably one of the most valuable tools in the world, but it wasn’t when it was first created, it needed to evolve for it to be what is today. The same goes for ideas, the value the idea can bring is relative to time and place, therefore the vetting part is so crucial. Just because the idea may be viable in ten years, doesn’t mean you have enough time to see it come to fruition.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The shift in financial advising from sales oriented to more of a professional service. For decades a financial advisor was a tool for companies to push products through, but this is beginning to change. Technology has eliminated the need for a broker and more advisors are beginning to realize there are more career options than just selling life insurance. Organizations such as the CFP Board and others are paving the way to help establish our expertise as a professional service. However, our industry needs to change the public perception of what a financial advisor is and the capabilities we have. As mentioned in the first question, it is LBW’s mission to change the perception of wealth management and wealth development, one client at a time.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My “get it done mentality” I feel makes me a more productive entrepreneur. When starting a business, you are the boss, janitor, and everything in between. You must recognize not every task is going to be what you want to do. You need to tie up your boots and get it done. Having this mentality can reduce negativity and help keep moving the company forward.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would love to go back and tell myself that starting from the age you can speak you are beginning to build your network. You never know where help is going to come from, and you would be surprised on the amount of help offered when asked. However, this help typically comes from relationships you have been building for years. So, I would tell myself to be cognizant of relationships you begin to build at a young age. I’m working hard on this now as the Vice President of a networking organization, Madison Magnet, but I just think of all of the years I could have compounded contacts.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everyone wants to be heard. Being in the financial advising professional has allowed me to work with people of all walks of earth. And one commonality across all genders, wealth amount, and demographic is everyone just wants to be heard. Listening with intention can help you develop a more meaningful relationship with any one you conversate with. The reason why people disagree, is because they are probably reading this thinking of ways to counter act my example. Again, don’t listen to answer, listen to hear someone else’s opinion.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Lean, learn, learn, and be more willing to learn. To be successful in life you must be willing to learn. On the face level, learning involves the traditional methods that you are used to – reading, classes, etc. To take this deeper, you learn by reading/hearing about other view points and opinions, and using those views to better form your ideas.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
LBW has been be able to grow significantly within three years for a lot of reasons, but one main reason is our team-oriented structure. We developed our firm with a team mentality. All three of us have different skill sets, so we took those and developed departments. Each person is responsible for their department and final decision-making authority. This allows us to hone in our skills sets developing a strong synergy around our clientele. This synergy makes us more productive and provides a competitive advantage within our space. People often ask me how I do it, my answer is simple; because I am not alone.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It is difficult for me to define a failure, as I feel failure is a part of success. Failure has such a negative connotation, to me you must fail to have success. So, to fail means to try. When starting a business nothing is ever going to go your way. Ideas will be thrown against the wall and you see what sticks. I think one thing I have overcome is accepting and knowing things will change and evolve, just because something works today, doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow and vice versa. Fail can be defined as “be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal”. Our goal is to change the perception of wealth management and wealth development. So, by definition, we haven’t failed yet.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One idea we have bounced around is a peer-to-peer inventory financing platform for artisan cheese makers. Artisan cheese makers have an issue when they age cheese, the cheese sits on the shelf locking up their capital. We feel there could be away to create a platform, like Kickstarter, where one could have individuals provide inventory financing for these smaller artisan shops. Now, there is plenty of logistics that would have to go into this, but if you could make it work, there is a possibility to expand your base to other artisans as they face similar problems. It is an interesting one, we just didn’t have the time to vet it appropriately.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Most recently I purchased an individual sponsorship ticket to the Madison Magnet Charity Fete. Magnet is a Young Professional organization that I’m currently serving as the Vice President. We noticed that many of the opportunities to give back in the Madison community came with a rally high barrier to entry for YPs. As a result we created a feeder event introducing Madison YPs to the idea of giving back through our Charity Fete. This year we’re donating funds to The Road Home which is an amazing organization helping homeless families in Madison get back on their feet.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
For our firm, our CRM – Wealthbox – allows us to streamline our communication and has increased our productivity. Our emails, notes, tasks, and workflows can all be tied to our clients’ profiles. It also has the capability to bring in social media feeds, pulling in pictures which is helpful when new clients come on board. Overall, our CRM is our life blood at the firm.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would highly recommended “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. This book was first published back in 1936 and is probably more relevant today then when it was written. Carnegie provides the fundamentals on how to interact with others. If you deal with anyone else but yourself in life, then this book is for you. So, literally, everyone should read it.
What is your favorite quote?
I am not sure where my favorite quote originated from, but I am going to go ahead and give credit to my high school football coach, Brody Benson. Every day he would tell us “If it were easy, everyone would do it”. This quote quite literally explains anything that is good in life. Everything that is good takes time, patience, and hard work.
- Make sure you take care of yourself. If you take care of yourself, you will become more productive.
- Ideas are relative to time. Just because it is a good idea doesn’t mean it is the time to implement.
- If you are unwilling to learn, then you will fall behind.
- You are always networking even when you’re not. Be cognizant of all the relationships you have, you never known when one of them can take you to the next level.
- When listening, don’t listen to answer, listen to understand.
- Failure is a part of success, success is a part of failure – there is no reason to fear failure unless you fear success.
- “If it were easy, everyone would do it”! Anything good takes time, patience, and hard work.
Timothy Bickmore on Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/timbickmore
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.