With the holiday season upon us, many advisers are focusing on helping their clients with last minute tax issues before the year ends. But soon, we in the financial services industry will be turning our attention to 2010 and how to make it a prosperous year.
If you are like many advisers, you may already have thoughts of creating a business plan. But, ask yourself this question: “How many times have I created a business plan at the beginning of a new year, only to file it away or lose it by spring?” Oftentimes, advisers start the year with the best intentions, only to get sidetracked with day-to-day operations which leave their business plan unattended and ultimately unfulfilled. If this has happened to you, rest assured that you are not alone. It has happened to most of us.
So what is the solution? This year, do not simply create a business plan—instead, build a business blueprint!
Building your business blueprint is about designing your business with the end result in mind, but by also including the details of “how” you will accomplish your desired outcome(s) and assigning time horizons to the sub-tasks, it becomes more than just a business plan. So the difference between a business blueprint and a standard business plan are the details: the “how-to, when and why” you want to get these business building activities accomplished.
Where most business plans fail is not in describing “what” you would like to accomplish, but in the details of “how” to sustain the daily activities needed to accomplish that “what.” This is why most advisers have lost their business plan momentum by spring.
Systematizing and automating your business building activities will help you sustain and maintain your momentum throughout the year. One example would be to identify one of your primary prospecting methods, maybe doing seminars. First, determine how many seminars you wish to have in the upcoming year. Then, determine the seminar dates and where they will be. Next, determine how many steps there are to putting on a seminar. Let’s say is takes six weeks from start-to-finish. What are the weekly steps and when (on what date) do you need to accomplish each step in order to have your seminar? Finally, why is it so important to do each step?
Now that you have this information it is time to put your plan into action! Do this by putting each step into your contact management system as a time sensitive pop-up to-do. This will ensure that you systematically do each step because you have automated the process. It can make the difference between actually doing seminars versus just saying you will do them. I know because I designed this exact business blueprint years ago while building my business and did 10 seminars in one year!
Although we can’t predict the future, one thing is certain—if past business plans have not been effective for you, using the same process each year will probably get you the same ineffective results. Instead, build your business blueprint and watch your business goals get accomplished and your business grow!
Daniel C. Finley
Advisor Solutions Inc.
St. Paul, Minn.