Practice Management TrendsettersJanuary 7, 2016

This year stop being your own worst enemy !

By Grant Hicks, CIM 

Hello and Happy New year to you. I want to ask you a question. What is the number one thing holding you back from accomplishing more this year? What one thing, if tackled, would produce great results? You guessed it, get out of your own way! I always use the example of a person walking towards a mirror, and saying” why doesn’t that person get out of my way?” The hardest thing to understand is yourself. The hardest item to work on to improve your business, is you. In 2016, what is the number one thing that you want to accomplish? Is it getting more ideal clients, upgrading existing clients, service and revenues, or managing capacity and demands of running a busy advisory practice? The only thing that is holding you back, is YOU!

What keeps you up at night?

To have a better year, you need a better plan. You need to work on that plan, implement the plan and envision the results. Are you blinded by fear inside? What if all of this really happens? I know that when I put my goals and plans to paper this year, I found myself being fearful of accomplishing what is possible. I understand, I know that I am holding myself back for several reasons or excuses, including fear. However, this is not about me, this is about you. At least, I spent 10 hours on my plan for the year and creating one three and five year plans. Now I have a plan that I am not fearful of.  Are you going to operate this year without a plan? A majority of financial advisors do. Who is going to go over your plan with you, and giving you feedback to keep you on track? As business owners, we can create a plan, but who holds us accountable, you do. The same reason that holds you back, is the same person who holds you accountable. Consider having someone else go over your plans with you and hold you accountable, so you get rid of the fear.

What planning do I need to do?

There are a million resources available on goals and planning out there. Here are key practice management strategies when it comes to planning.

Have a strategic business plan. This is your long term 3-5 year plan for your business. According to Business Health Pty Ltd in Australia, only 41% of Australian practices have a strategic plan, and the ones that do have a 194% profit impact  ( December 2015 Newsletter ) I would encourage you to read their newsletter after this one to help you with your planning.Next you need your one year plan and it would include a sales and marketing plan or marketing calendar. I created a content calendar for all of my blog posts, videos, webinars and workshops for the calendar year and put my year down to 2000 hours, which is approximately 45 weeks at 45 hours per week. Now tell me how you’re going to effectively service and communicate to 500 plus clients in 200 hours per year? Which client is going to leave you this year? The one that has minimal communication and receives minimal value for the fee they pay each year. Next year when CRM2 in Canada becomes in full effect, it will be even easier to identify clients who will leave or even worse, not give you any more business.

Succession planning

According to Business health Pty. Of Australia, only 39% of Australian practices have a succession plan and the ones that do earn 69% more than practices without a documented succession plan. I understand why it is not a top priority, again the word fear of death is near to all of us. Over the holidays I spent time documenting my succession plan and organized it in a binder. I told my family, if something ever happens to me, go to the black binder, it is all there. Do you have binders for your top clients to organize their estate and documents? Or do you have one yourself? Do yours first and you will want to help others get it done.

Review last year

One exercise I do every January is look at all the meetings and appointments I had the previous year, every single one and write down what worked and what did not work. Then I reason why certain things worked and try to eliminate activities and actions that did not work. I look at my coaching clients, speaking clients and training clients and determine two things, add to or eliminate. It helps me plan my time for the year and also my revenue and growth opportunities.

Start with a plan or get help

We know that advisors who have a coach or belong to a coaching program or study group earn 108% more than advisors who do not get help according to the same research from Business Health Pty Ltd.  We are talking about an external advisor who you meet with at least quarterly to hold you accountable for keeping you on track to reach your goals. I meet for a half day each quarter with my advisor to go over my plans and goals and report how my progress is doing. He is a business coach named Rick Unruh who I work with to help me accomplish more, get rid of fear and hold me accountable. Who do you work with? If you don’t have someone, put it as the first goal on your list. Make 2016 a great year, get rid of the fear and have a plan on paper. If you need help reach out to someone. As legendary ski movie maker Warren Miller said” If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do”.

 Advisor Practice Management’s goal is 

“ Helping 1000 Financial Advisors take action, to create 100 quality financial plans for their clients”.  “ To create 1 million quality financial plans through quality financial advisors”.  Ask your clients and prospects this question " What does a quality financial plan mean to you ? 

Let’s work on your business. Start by emailing us. Why not? 

Enthusiastically yours,

Grant Hicks, CIM, National Director Practice Management
Advisor Practice Management

909-17th Ave SW, 4th Floor
Calgary, Alberta  T2T 0A4
Tel  587 390 3148
Cell 403 970 8895

PS Where do you want to be in 3 years?

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