With spring in full swing, now is a great time to give your practice a thorough check-up. This means evaluating where you and your practice are today and what you can do to improve the outlook for the future.

An in-depth assessment, at least once a year, is essential so that you don’t wake up one day and realize the advice industry is passing you by. Our industry is in transition and is evolving rapidly. How we market ourselves, the investments, products and advice we offer clients, and even the definition of retirement, has changed. As advisors we know that, and must act on it to ensure our own sound financial futures.

One of the things that I pride myself on and am happy to share with clients is that I have my finger on the pulse of the financial services industry. I read every possible financial publication that I can get my hands on and feel like I know what is happening in every aspect of the industry – from trends to strategies to corporate changes. This gives me the confidence and knowledge to speak freely about multiple issues that face our industry. It also gives me the wherewithal to constantly re-evaluate my practice and keep it on the cutting edge.

As consumers we know when a place we do business with is “clicking” or not. I recently switched dentists because the one I was using was just not clicking. The times they offered for appointments were inconvenient for me, and when I did go I would wait about 30 minutes before seeing somebody. And they always messed up the invoice. This was a poorly run dental office, leading to an unsatisfied patient who has since moved on.

Whether it’s your dentist, grocery store or financial advisor, consumers are more savvy today than ever and demand well-run service providers.

So be honest with yourself when you ask the question: Does everything click? If not, why not, and what can you do to change that? Even if your business is going well, where are the glitches?

Put yourself in your client’s shoes – trace his experience in your office from the moment he walks in until he leaves. Did everything click for him? Are you satisfied with your performance and that of your practice? Can you do better? How can you expand your services? How can you increase your revenues, client retention and profit margins?

Pay attention to your “ideal” client – the client who provides maximum revenue for time spent with them. Examine your marketing plan to see if it is geared toward attracting your ideal client. Perhaps you should expand the services you offer, dropping some less cost-effective services and increasing you and your staff’s expertise with continuing education. Provide attainable incentives to your employees to improve productivity and morale.

Taking a hard look at your fee structure is critical and if you don’t have one, think about adding fee-based advice.

We are in the business of providing investment, financial and retirement advice to clients after we have conducted a thorough evaluation of their situation. It’s the same when it comes to our own professional practices. We must regularly review our strengths and weaknesses so that we can review and evaluate our sustainability. In order to provide strong financial advice to others you must be prospering as a professional today and positioned strategically as a professional for tomorrow.