For most financial professionals, focusing on their business plan is something that usually comes at the end or the beginning of the year. But those who are looking to take their business to the next level realize they should probably act sooner rather than later.

The end of the year and the holiday season is also another reason so many people put off planning their finances. This year presents an even bigger challenge. We have an economy that has improved over the past 18 months, and numerous tax and estate planning issues have yet to be addressed in Washington. This can leave the average potential client in a wait-and-see mode. So how does a financial professional turn these challenges into opportunities?

1) Circle back with current clients. Many of us have a planning process when we bring on a new client. In the perfect world, all issues get addressed right away. Yet, in the real world, clients need to take some time to think about other ideas before they move forward. It could be the issue of buying long-term care insurance or investing more money. By focusing first on current clients, I feel you are doing what your clients hired you to do — taking care of them first and foremost. Call current clients back in for a review and talk about issues that need to be addressed but haven’t been finished yet. Worst case, a sale isn’t suitable right now, but the client still gets an up-to-date review, and everyone still wins.

2) Grow results with potential clients. Increase your marketing efforts and focus on time-sensitive items to keep response rates high. Do 20 percent more in three areas of your best marketing campaigns. That could mean mailing 20 percent more invites to workshops, making 20 percent more follow-up calls or one more referral event. Focus on issues such as tax cuts expiring or last-minute strategies to maximize results. This should make up for those potential clients who are distracted toward the end of the year.

3) Maximize time. Time is the one commodity in life that cannot be duplicated, so don’t waste this one. On any given day, I can do about 50 different things. But most issues that come up aren’t where I should spend my time. The way I solve this issue is each night before I leave for the day, I write down the six most important things I need to do the next day. I write this list the day before, as it is easy to make commitments because it is something I’m going to do tomorrow. Waiting until that day is a bad idea because life kicks in, and the most important items usually get put off. Then, each day when I come in, I focus on the most important issues first, so I maximize my time.

I can’t guarantee by following my system your results will improve by 250 percent, like mine did. I do know, as a personal producer, waiting is a bad idea. Get a jump start on your business before we ring in the new year.

Nolan Baker is an investment professional and founder of The Retirement Specialists, home of The Retirement Guys. www.retirementguysradio.com