There are a lot of tasks that must be performed in order to build a successful advisory business. Each task must then be analyzed and if inefficiencies are present they must be addressed. As a solo practitioner, you must be especially conscious of this since there is a limited amount of time available. Last week I identified and resolved some of these issues.

Months ago, I chose ACT as my customer relationship managment (CRM) software. I have created additional tabs and fields to allow me to gather additional information. Here’s what I did. In preparing financial plans for clients, the speed of the process depends upon you and the client. The client must provide you with the required information in a timely manner and you must use this information to hold up your end of the agreement. I can control my end just fine but sometimes the flow of information from the client can require a prompting from the advisor. Since necessity often is the mother of invention, I made some decisions as to how I would handle this.

ACT will allow you to do a mail merge to a word processor, a printer, or an e-mail. I created a template which I call “Financial Planning Status Report.” Included in the template is the beginning date of the planning agreement, the current date, the type of plan, the specific step of the process, and a list of each item I need to do the analysis. The items on the list will be identified as “received,” “not received,” or “n/a.” There is also a paragraph at the end, reminding the client of the value of this engagement. I will send this out, probably on a weekly basis, to everyone who engages me as their planner and this will continue throughout the planning phase until we reach the implementation phase.

The real key is this: once the appropriate fields are populated the document pre-fills with the necessary information. This allows for an efficient process which again serves a few purposes. First, it reminds a client who may be slow at providing information to address the request. It will also provide all planning clients with continual updates on where I am in the process of completing their customized plan.

If you are doing anything similar to this, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading.