Growing Your Practice: The Rule of 5

Consultants and advisors are a bit schizophrenic when it comes to focus. We’re hard-wired to deal with client deadlines and address problems as they crop up. But focus on the non-urgent spadework of building our practice? Not so much.

Making a call to a long-term prospect. Having lunch with a future alliance partner. Delegating administration so you can spend more time doing the work you love. How are you supposed to fit these into an already jam-packed schedule?

Try the “Rule of 5”. Every day, do 1 thing that will advance your business in 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years. Crazy busy? Then do 2 the next day–hold yourself accountable.

The important thing is to start.

5 weeks: This is referral territory. These are the calls, the meetings, the posts that get you connected to referral sources and prospective clients. It’s responding to those who ask for referrals to your network. Making time to help someone else is just good business for advisors.

5 months: We’re talking about the time it often takes to turn a warm, connected prospect into a client. Forward an idea, continue the conversation, do a favor, stay connected. Help your contacts with their job searches. Building these relationships takes consistent effort.

5 years: Here is where you dedicate time to learning, writing and long-term relationship and brand building. That book may not pay for itself in the first year or two, but by year 5 it could well be your primary calling card. Ditto that client relationship that was slow to start but is now at the core of your practice. Are you investing enough in your future?

The Rule of 5. Try it. Master it. Pass it on.


  • Scott Bradley

    Very well said, I think the majority of salespersons and entrepreneurs fall into the trap of wanting it now and not willing to wait or work on The Rule of 5.

  • Bearak

    I never thought of the rule of five. I have often discussed how business relationship develop over time and I have clients that reflect that. Some nurturing reflects formalities; other more informal contacts. Keys are finding ways to stay in touch. The tough part is determining who to nurture more frequently (and even that can change). Things constantly evolve. They key point is not to get caught up in chasing tomorrow's money (short-term) at the cost of long-term client relationship that may take longer to cultivate but become very steady in revenue.
    -Corey Bearak

  • Sanat Sankrityayan

    ROCHELLE, Rightly Said…Absolutely Vital 5. Building Personal Brand Does Take Time….

  • Rochelle Moulton

    Scott, Corey and Sanat,
    Great points on the critical need to invest in relationships for the long-term. Thanks for your contributions!

  • jakester191

    This is gread information, especially for those of us just starting up. It can be very overwhelming looking at the details, and the rule of 5 would really help in setting goals and breaking down a good business plan.

  • Bruce A.

    Hi Rochelle, I like this idea and I actually have another rule of 5 that also helps focus (and I'd like to share). I call it 5 by 5 planning; simply put it's the 5 next best actions to take for your Top 5 priorities.

    Five steps in any process will get you further down the road, so if you organize your thoughts and actions in sets of 5, they are easier to remember and organize without a day-planner (you can do it in your head).

    Anyway, it must be something about the number 5, it has a good feel for success.

    Best of luck and thanks for your tip.

    Bruce A.

  • Rochelle Moulton

    Great thoughts Bruce–thanks for sharing your 5 by 5….

  • Ann H. Shea

    Hi Rochelle,

    Glad you found me via Twitter so I could discover you and your blog! Good stuff here and happy to be connected.

    I'm going to take the Rule of Five to heart to help me with longer range planning.

    Here's another Five…A Daily 5:

    Every day, do 5 things that make a difference in someone else's life…Share 5 positive statements, thank you's, compliments or random acts of kindness.

    Thanks for sharing your insights now and in the future!


  • Rochelle Moulton

    Hi Ann,
    Excellent Daily 5! I'm loving everyone's additions–we shall all be unstoppable.

  • dr jim sellner, PhD., DipC.

    great insights that list of five. Thank you. So true on the 5 year year , so consistency, persistence and hanging in there is key.

  • Perry

    Thanks for this post, I have to admit I've been very scatter focused in the last while. I know I have to do all of the above, but your post has given me a way to think about it that will help me actually get it done.

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