Established financial advice and planning firms are now discovering the importance of taking a disciplined approach to the way they manage their business.
If you cannot have impact in a first meeting, for example, there are others who can.
The following questions have should help you to identify whether you have a consistent, repeatable process for thinking about where you are heading and staying ahead of your peers and competitors. How many of them are true for your business?
- I have a quarterly strategic plan, against which I manage the business. (As opposed to ticking a To-Do list, reacting to the Inbox or just responding to opportunities as I go along)
- My diary is organised so that each work-week contains three time-zones: delivery to clients, business-development and admin. (As opposed to trying to do everything all the time)
- There is a “keep-in-touch” system that replenishes the pipeline. (As opposed to random calls, disappearing into client work, or waiting for the right moment)
- I take specific measures to develop enhanced services and differentiate the business from other providers. (As opposed to hoping that clients don’t shop around)
- I have tested the extent to which clients value the services I provide with key people to make sure they are relevant and helpful. (As opposed to being seduced by my own story or wisdom)
- There is a proven marketing and sales process that brings quality clients, and is constantly being refined. (As opposed to waiting, hoping or relying on someone else)
- When I am in front of a prospective client, I take them through a structured dialogue that adds value to their thinking and reframes their needs. (As opposed to being interviewed by them)
- I am able to get from a first- to a second- meeting (As opposed to offering to write a proposal, and/or never hearing from them again)
- When confronted with hesitant clients, I have developed techniques to “get them off the fence” (As opposed to waiting, following-up, or being passive)
- Whether paid or unpaid, there is a support team to whom support-tasks can be delegated (As opposed to doing everything myself)
- There is a regime of monthly financial control, and adequate financial reserves to withstand six-months of downtime. (As opposed to constant worry, hope or daily panic about cash-flow)
- Fees: I enjoy above-average remuneration, coupled with clear-cut reasons why my clients are willing to pay these rates (As opposed to “my many years of experience”)
- I am close to top colleagues, who inspire me to raise my game (As opposed to being stuck in a comfort-zone, bored, isolated, unknown or only learning from others who are also struggling)
- My own business-planning and behaviour is challenged monthly (at least), just as it would be at board-level in a large company. (As opposed to being stuck in a rut)
If you can honestly tick all of the above statements, then you have achieved a level of sustainable success to be proud of. Well done.
If you can tick most of the above (10+); then you may wish to challenge yourself a bit more: particularly between Q4-Q9. Why delay resolution of the remaining issues?
Every year is precious, and there is a huge difference between scoring 10 and scoring 14. In short, life at 14 is a lot easier than at 8.
If you scored less than 10 and are still reading this with an open mind, then you have courage. Many advisers and planners find a reason to avoid confronting the reality of their situation, or they procrastinate and delay over doing something about it.
Or they look for a “magic-wand”.
Hope isn’t a strategy. Things don’t just happen. They are made to happen. How are you making things happen in your business?