Many advisors see themselves in growth mode again, but not enough of them have a plan in place to make that happen, according to a recent survey.

Curian Capital's recent survey of roughly 1,800 independent financial advisors found that 68% of respondents describe their business mindset this year as one of acceleration and growth, but only 56% have a strategic plan in place to grow their business.

In addition, just 10% of advisors feel their business strategy is sound and doesn't need to change. One-third of advisors know their business model needs to change, but they aren't sure how to get there.

According to Curian, the areas of business support cited by advisors as most important for growing their business include marketing (96%), total account development/cross-selling (90%) and business plan development (84%).

Among other findings from the survey, which was conducted last November, was that 72% of respondents said their clients' top concerns centered on principal protection (72%) and guaranteed income (45%). Not surprisingly, advisors reported increased demand for more conservative products, such as those offering guaranteed income. They also reported sizable demand for products with tactical investment strategies designed to do well in topsy-turvey markets.

The survey also found that the majority of respondents (55%) said clients typically have three to four financial goals (such as saving for retirement, college and the like), and that 89% of advisors say they use at least three--and in some cases more than six--products to help clients achieve their goals. In other words, most advisors recognize that just placing their clients' money in mutual funds and hoping they grow won't do the trick anymore.

"Advisors realize that clients are now much more apt to hit the panic button when they're invested one way for everything," says Dan Maurer, Curian's senior vice president of marketing. "Probably the best thing to do is to create individual plans for each goal and have the individual client understand how each goal is being invested to achieve that. That also shows the total picture."

The upshot: Properly allocated money across different asset classes should help cushion the blow against market volatility. "That makes it less likely that clients will hit the panic button so quickly," Maurer says.