John Williamson

Grow your practice

John Williamson

Senior Vice President, Director of Strategic Initiatives – Innovation & Growth

Strategically bolstering your business

Start considering M&A, vendor partnerships, and succession planning

John Williamson and the Innovation & Growth team focus on providing the resources necessary for WFAFN business owners to grow their practices and serve their clients. There are several key components that come into play when adopting growth strategies for a practice, but, Williamson says, the overarching reason for doing so is the same: keeping the end client top-of-mind.

One of the growth strategy pillars is mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which is one of the bigger growth components the Innovation & Growth team assists owners with. “Selling a practice is a hugely personal decision,” Williamson says. “Successful M&A is all about what’s best for clients.

“At WFAFN, we start with the client and work backward. During a recent acquisition that we helped facilitate, the seller shared that the client experience was a critical part of the deal. Post-deal, she insisted, her clients would have to be taken care of because, as she put it, 'When I’m retired, I’m still going to live in this town and see them!'”

For business owners interested in M&A, the Innovation & Growth team can offer counseling on deal terms and continue-to-work options. They work as consultants by illustrating and supporting the mechanics of buying and selling, such as valuation, contract terms, logistics of transactions, client communications, and marketing redesign/rebrand, success metrics on retention, and seller payments.

Another component is leveraging strategic vendors. WFAFN’s independent model is rooted in offering advisors options to do business how they want and with whom they want. That is why Williamson is constantly looking for new vendors who offer an array of services as a strategic advantage to WFAFN business owners. He says, “We appreciate that each practice has a unique set of needs, ranging from marketing to recruiting to valuation to real estate concerns.” Finally, another key growth component is preparing and planning for life events through continuity and succession plans. These plans can take years to develop and implement, so it is important to start early. “Having a roadmap for your practice is critical,” Williamson explains. “We counsel business owners on continuity and succession plans that answer all the important questions: What’s best for the seller, his or her family, staff, and clients? The barometer of a successful continuity or succession plan is how well clients and survivors are treated and served.” Continuity planning (having a contingency plan for your practice in the event of an unanticipated major life event) can be part of succession planning (having a plan for your practice after you retire).

So why WFAFN?

Williamson says, “WFAFN’s Innovation & Growth team has significant M&A and succession and continuity expertise. Our strategic vendors help us create targeted, customized support for our business owners. And our Home Office and regional field teams truly care about the success and growth of every single owner.”

“WFAFN’s independent model is rooted in offering advisors options to do business how they want and with whom they want. It’s time to take advantage.”

Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (WFAFN).