Pruning Your Business Practices

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Spring is a time of new beginnings, and if you are like many of us, you may be thinking about finally getting outside and doing some landscaping, planting or even pruning.

Have you ever considered that it might be a great time to do some pruning in your business as well? Just as pruning branches from a tree helps it to become stronger and produce more foliage so too can pruning unproductive activities (and even clients) so that your business can flourish and be a more fruitful practice for the long term.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how you could make some healthy cuts with your business practices.

We all have the same amount of time in the day, but it’s what we do with the time that we have that means the difference between a business that is growing and one that is slowly withering.

It is important to prune the time-wasters, constantly checking email, too much chit-chat with co-workers and/or being reactive every time a client needs or requests something.

The solution lies in creating better processes, including anything that can be delegated gets delegated. Interruptions should be prioritized and dealt with the last hour of the business day, emails should be scheduled to be read at the top or bottom of an hour (or even less often).

Client Expectations
Some advisers believe that they should reassign a percentage of their client base each year. I say that there is no need to do that unless you are not able to manage client expectations, such as believing that it is necessary for you to manage a request the minute a client asks.

The solution lies in educating your clients about your responsibilities and capabilities for and to them. If you train your clients to understand what you can and cannot feasibly and efficiently manage, you are setting up realistic expectations, which will lead to a better adviser-client relationship.

In the financial advisory profession, many things are simply out of your control. However, you are in control of your attitude! If you find that you have a negative attitude toward the market, your broker-dealer, clients, or your practice in general, then it is certainly time to reshape your attitude.

The solution lies in where you chose to focus your attention. Try this four step process:

  1. Determine where you are with your business, its recent failures and successes. Then, determine where you want it to be. Don’t let excuses or negativity distract you from finding your target(s).
  2. Find someone who has already accomplished something similar or comparable and inquire how they went about making it happen.
  3. Implement appropriate steps. Taking action alleviates anxiety.
  4. Evaluate your progress and make course corrections if need be.


Obviously, these suggestions for pruning your business merely touch upon a much larger scope of what could be addressed. However, if you do apply these techniques, your efforts will begin to bear more fruit and offer your business solid roots and infrastructure.

If you are interested in a complimentary consultation with Dan Finley to discuss how to best prune your advisory practice, email Melissa Denham, Advisor Solution’s director of client servicing, at

Daniel C. FinleyDan Finley

Advisor Solutions
St. Paul, Minn.

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