April 1, 2012

3 Key Systems for a Healthy Independent Advisory Business: Overview

Over the next few posts, I will be discussing what I view to be the three primary systems of an advisory business. Just as the body has a circulatory system, a nervous system, and many others, a business can be parsed in similar fashion. As an independent advisor, the challenge is to spend an adequate amount of time on each. The three systems are: marketing, service, and operations. In this post, I will briefly cover each with the intent of taking a deeper dive over the ensuing weeks. I hope to bring you some very actionable steps which will help you in your practice. 

Primary System No. 1: Marketing

Many view this as the most important system. Truth is, you can be the best practitioner in the world, but if you don't continue to add new clients, you have a good chance of failing. However, if you are very good at what you do, and you have enough excited clients (and centers of influence) to provide an adequate supply of referrals, you will likely succeed. Either way, marketing is an important facet of any business. We'll get into the details of this system next week.

Primary System No. 2: Service

Once a prospect comes on board as a client it's important to service that client properly. The key is to provide a positive experience utilizing efficient processes which are easily replicated. After all, it requires much less effort to maintain an existing client than to find a new one.

Moreover, when a client is unhappy and leaves, they will tell several others. Because your reputation is everything, take care of existing clients! In general, this is an area in which independent advisors have a distinct advantage over their "big box" brethren.  In two weeks, we’ll tackle some of the tasks that fall under this category.

Primary System No. 3: Operations

The back office, as we like to call it, is an area which can be problematic at times. This is because it extends beyond your reach. For example, when you send in paperwork to establish a new account, and the paperwork gets lost or misplaced, the client may get the impression that someone dropped the ball. Also, when you send in paperwork to transfer an account in, if it doesn't go smoothly, as is the case sometimes, it may reflect poorly on you. Even though it was not your fault, clients have certain expectations which we must strive to meet.

The bottom line is that we need to not only meet, but exceed the clients expectations. And to the extent we can do that, the future of our business becomes brighter. 

Stay tuned over the next several weeks as we explore this topic in greater detail!

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