Growing Your Practice

4 Insights About Building a Business from Michael Ovitz and Ravi Gupta

By :
Samir Vasavada
In the first Vise Evolve Event, our co-founder and CEO Samir Vasavada sat down with two titans of business for an hourlong conversation about the biggest takeaways from their careers and how it relates to building an RIA.

At Vise, we believe in giving financial advisors the tools to not only automate their investment management, but also grow their businesses. That’s why we recently held our first-ever Vise Evolve Event, an hour-long fireside chat for our advisor community to learn about building a business from world-renowned executives. 

The goal of the event, and future ones in the series, is to give our growing advisor community access to insights they couldn’t get elsewhere. We believe that our resources are our clients, and we’ll go to great lengths to make them available at all times. One of those resources is our expert network as you’ll see from this recap. 

In the inaugural event, Vise co-founder and CEO Samir Vasavada spoke with two business giants: former Instacart COO/CFO and current Sequoia Capital partner Ravi Gupta, and Michael Ovitz, founder of Creative Arts Agency, former president of Disney, and perhaps one of the most powerful people in show business. 

Here are four key takeaways from the discussion that advisors can use to supercharge their practices, and outgun their competitors.

Focus your time and energy on what really matters

The two most important (and scarce) resources advisors have at their disposal are time and energy. During the discussion, Ravi said that focusing your time and energy on the most pertinent and high-impact tasks is perhaps the most important lesson he learned at Instacart.

For Ravi, that meant focusing on three key things: selling as many groceries as possible, increasing the profitability of each order, and creating an environment where the best people in the world wanted to work. 

By simplifying his thinking and focusing on big-picture goals, Ravi was able to help Instacart grow into the behemoth it is today.

It’s all about “R.E.T.”

Michael sees the challenge of building a business through a similar lens. 

“At the end of the day, I like to look at what I call “R.E.T,” he explains, an acronym that stands for relationships, education, and time. The three work together, creating a foundation for a relationship that will pay off for years. For advisors, they should focus on building trust with their clients by first learning about their clients’ specific needs. That trust can help save time and money down the road. Clients will be more inclined to refer their advisor to friends or family, and thereby generate more business for the advisor.

Michael believes that advisors can start building these relationships by asking one simple question, “What can we do for clients that nobody else can do?”

Communication is everything

Both Ravi and Michael also say that communication is the key to everything in business. That’s because, once again, constant communication builds trust between a client and their advisor. Staying on top of the news cycle and market shifts, and helping clients make sense of what’s happening fosters a significant level of trust that will only strengthen the advisor-client relationship.

The link between communication and trust is incredibly important, as it’s ultimately what will determine your success as an advisor to clients who need direction.

“Your advice is important, but it will fall on deaf ears if there’s no trust and no connection,” said Michael.

Get creative, and never say die

Whether you’re a seasoned advisor or someone looking to build out your client base, one lesson that both Ravi and Michael stressed was the importance of consistency and never giving up. 

“Persuasion is about consistency. Consistency of communication. Consistency of doing things for your clients, consistency in letting them know you really care about them. Then they rely on you, and they’re going to refer you to other people,” Michael said.

Ravi recounted one way in which Instacart came through for customers who wanted Trader Joe’s added to the platform. The grocer wasn’t willing to sign up with Instacart’s service, but Ravi says that Instacart’s team found a creative workaround that involved snapping photos of Trader Joe’s products, listing those products on Instacart, and assigning Instacart shoppers to go purchase them for customers outside of an official channel with the grocer. That, Ravi says, effectively satisfied customers’ appetites for Trader Joe’s products.

Similarly, Michael said that his team gained an upperhand by calling prospects at 8 a.m. rather than the industry-standard 9:30 a.m., a simple but brilliant tactic that allowed his agency to secure commitments from clients before his competitors had even clocked-in.

It’s this type of creative thinking that will move the needle for advisors. 

There’s more to come from the Vise team

The insights from Michael and Ravi are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the resources that Vise offers advisors. And, of course, there’s a lot more to unpack in each session.

This inaugural Vise Evolve Event was designed to give you a glimpse of what’s to come. Consider becoming a Vise Advisor in order to take part in future Vise community events, where you’ll be able to network and communicate with business leaders from across the spectrum. 



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