Achieving breakthrough performance in 2019
Although it may seem business is winding down in November and December, as you are trying to meet with clients, this is the ideal time to create your 2019 Strategic Plan. Planning and preparing now will enable you, your firm and your team to hit the ground running in January and position your practice for breakthrough performance.
Here are five key FUNDAMENTALS to help drive a successful business strategy:
VISION | ANALYSIS | STRATEGY | STRUCTURE | EXECUTION
Creating a meaningful and compelling vision of where you aspire to be in the next three to five years will help you, your team and your clients not only understand and embrace what you do but also, why you do it.
Seeing components of your practice for what they truly are and defining the things that must change to meet your goals enables you to prioritize those changes. Focusing on what must be in done to create a sustainable business in this marketplace and capturing immediate opportunities helps lead to results.
It is easy to confuse strategy with tactical planning. Strategy is both art and science. Strategy is an art because it requires creative thinking and the ability to visualize the future. It is also science, as critical thinking and decision-making can ensure your plan succeeds. Admittedly, it is difficult to step out of the day to day of working in the business to work on the business. Imagine for a moment, the result if every task or decision your team executes each day took you closer to creating your practice of the future. The tactics of execution are essential, but must be done with purpose.
In years of coaching advisors, I have learned that structure is one of the hardest things to get right in a practice. Many advisors tend to try to hire personnel to solve for capacity constraints or to grow. Adding people without a clear purpose could have unintended consequences. If you are considering adding a team member, the time must be right; you should proceed for the right reasons and ensure you are choosing the right person. Consider the following tactics to create efficiencies before adding people:
- Eliminate unproductive tasks. Productive time is time spent doing activities that retain your best clients, expand your current client relationships and uncover opportunities for new business.
- Potentially cull the book and keep an eye to profitability. As a business owner, we know that pro bono work is part of running a practice. However, too much pro bono work hampers productivity and the ability to grow.
- Reduce your inventory. Managing too many investments and potentially too much customization for each client means that non-revenue producing time must be spent to meet your performance and regulatory requirements.
- Gain leverage by considering other more systematized options in the investment solutions you offer your clients, giving you time back to deepen the relationships with your clients and their families.
- Ensure role clarity of the team members you may already have on your team. Adding new members to the team without understanding the expectations of their role could cause dysfunction among the team or between you and your new team member.
- Leverage virtual team members. You may not always need to hire someone to execute specific tasks on the team. Explore whether you truly need a new team member, or if there is an existing resource you could leverage instead, which may be more cost-effective.
As you begin to implement your plan, prioritization of the work to achieve breakthrough performance is essential. Remember: While high impact, easy-to-implement is optimal, activities that have a higher return may mean having to incorporate high impact, harder-to-implement work as well. Setting revenue goals, and creating roles, responsibility and accountability systems are crucial to ensure the tactics are executed in an efficient and timely manner. Finally, setting up formal accountability meetings and ensuring all team members are committed to formalized accountability processes can enable you and your team to accomplish goals you never thought possible.
The bottom line
Visualize where you want to go, understand where your practice is today, create a strategic plan, align your structure to accomplish that plan and most importantly, have an accountability system in place to ensure execution.
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