The way you run your business is likely to be based on a number of habits. When was the last time you did a business habits reality check?
Maybe in this short presentation you will be able to put your mind to this task for the first time. To that end, ask yourself the following questions:
Does my business excite me? By “my business,” I refer to your own financial services business or the business you operate within the company you work for.
How much more successful am I now compared with three years ago? If the answer is “not as successful,” then you need to do a reevaluation. If the answer is “infinitely more successful,” then you certainly should consider continuing what you’re doing, because it works. And if the answer is “very much the same,” then something has to change.
Do I have sufficient time off in my life compared with the amount of time I put into working my business? Working hard is not the maxim; it’s working effectively. What you must also consider is playing hard and effectively to balance your life so that you are creating greater value, not just for yourself but also for your colleagues, your company–and your family.
What is your primary aim? Your primary aim is what drives you forward in life–what excites you and makes you happy. Many people say to me their primary aim is their families or happiness or being the best they can be. These are not primary aims, but things that happen as a result of having a primary aim When you achieve your primary aim, it’s time for a new one.
My proposition to you is to understand the need to go from in to on in your daily activities. Think back to the last business week. What percentage of that week was on (strategic) versus in (operational)? If you are spending 51% or more of your time in your business, then you need to seriously rethink what activities you are putting into your diary.
How many of you realize that your number one product is, and should be, your business? The moment you get this, you’ll start to get everything that goes with it, which is potentially:
? More sleep at night
? More income
? More time off
? More quality thinking and the time resources to enjoy it
To create a strategic business, even now after many years of trading, you need to follow four golden rules.
Rule No. 1: Increase the number of clients you choose to have. The key word here is “choose.” You can have the most amazing customer service, but if you are not being paid sufficiently for what you are offering your client, the business is not a business–it’s a charity.
So here’s an idea for you: Why not sack the 20% of your clients with whom you rarely enjoy working? I know of an advisor who decided to do this some years ago, except that he got rid of 80% of his clients. He kept the top 20%, who he also realized were affording him the maximum amount of income.
Also, have you thought about looking at new select markets? My U.K. colleague, Sandro Forte, spent a lot of his business-formation years dealing with the rich and famous. To this day, he still specializes in this highly lucrative area, which has become the norm for him.
Consider, too, whether your business has a marketing engine. Nearly every business has streams of income based on its marketing activity. Your business is no different. You should consider up to six streams, with a minimum of four.
What could be the ways you could create streams of business? Consider the following:
? Personal introductions
? Breakfast clubs
? Money seminars
? Business briefings
? Specialized networking
Rule No. 2: Make your business more strategic–increase the transaction value. Another way of doing this would be upgrading your client’s services. It’s extraordinary how few financial advisors think about this. It’s almost as if, once a client has agreed to a certain amount he or she is willing to part with, the advisor switches off his sales button and goes into operational mode.
How you would rate your offerings? Are they so good that people want to come back time and again? Do you talk about clients’ dreams and aspirations and offer ideas of how people can get what they want? In short, do you make clients’ mouths water with a financial plan that serves their every need and future desire?
Rule No. 3: Increase the transaction frequency. To increase transaction frequency, communicate more frequently with clients. I am surprised when people say that they only contact their clients about twice a year. This is sheer madness. During the months when you’re out of touch, competitors will be delivering their messages, attempting to take your business because you have no system to keep that all-important connection going.
How many of you are on YouTube? Why don’t you promise yourself today to get on YouTube as soon as possible? You can create a video clip–or three–using a reasonable digital camera and some thought around what you want to say so your message tempts people to call you.
Another thing to think about is how extraordinary (or ordinary) your customer care is. Here are three items to consider about customer care:
? The way you answer the phone. This would include your voicemail message. What’s your message like right now?
? Polishing your shop window. Yes, the telephone is part of your shop window. So are your offices, the clothes you wear, the briefcase you carry, the state of your shoes, the quality of any accoutrements you have such as pens, glasses, mobile phones, and so on. When meeting you for the first time, prospects will be looking for visual clues as to the type of person they’ll be dealing with.
The 3 Cs–consistent, conversational, contact. Consider communicating with clients using MP3 files or video sent by e-mail or using services like YouSendIt.com.
I’m all in favor of newsletters, as long as they’re not called newsletters and as long as the information inside is bright, interesting, and a good read. The newsletter should be all about how the client can be better off financially.
However you communicate, be consistent and conversational.
Rule No. 4: Create and improve your business systems. I’m delighted to say that this is our number one attribute, which everyone notices when they come to our offices. They see a lack of paper and a minimal environment. Our team is never encouraged to spend much time in our offices because, if we’re doing most of the administration, their role is to be meeting with clients.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve created the most amazing system based on spending thousands upon thousands of pounds–and it would be untrue. I’ve simply engaged a great practice manager, who has designed a simple way of working for all of us; as well as mini-processes for submitting new business, answering phones and looking after our team.
Michael Gerber, the author of a book I read over 10 years ago, wrote that the purpose of a business is to sell it. Whether you wish to sell it or not, that’s irrelevant. The more you think about it, the more you realize that, if you are creating a business that is worthy of selling, then it has to have a value which, if the business is looked after, grows in time.