Often, when we hear about growing the bottom line, we jump immediately to profit margins. We try to achieve this growth by bringing in new business and cutting expenses. These are necessary tasks that every good business owner should be diligently pursuing on a consistent basis. But I would like you to think about your bottom line — how you can work in a way that aligns with not just your financial goals, but your personal goals, as well. In our industry, it is very easy to let your practice take control of you as you run from one appointment to the next and wonder whether it ever ends. I experienced that frustration too, until my brother and I began to apply the S + E + A = Efficiency formula.
In my March column this year, I discussed how to grow your practice through this formula. My definition of efficiency is growing a practice that meets your business and personal goals. The key is that you must meet your personal goals to an equal or greater degree than you do your business goals. To achieve this, you must find a deeper and more sincere connection with your ultimate purpose, the “why” behind it all. This chart illustrates the system that I have seen work in our practice and for other advisors across the country.
Starting with your “why” requires you to be honest and set time aside to get the most out of this exercise. First, you write about and reflect on your business. In this reflection, ask the hard questions about the purpose of and mission for your business. Second, think about how you plan to support that purpose in your operations. This includes every little step in your practice, from whom you hire to the environment of your office to, most importantly, the investment vehicles that you use to implement your clients’ financial plans.
When you do this exercise properly, you will begin to see your practice through a different set of lenses. Solutions will come more easily, and your new vision will be adopted by others. But building the bridge between our dreams and reality can be difficult, which is where the S + E + A formula can help.
First, you must develop systems for all that you do in your practice. This needs to start at a high level and drill down all the way to your individual employees and the roles they play in the broader system.
Second is the execution of the systems created. This is where you want to constantly bring the “why” back into your business to help fuel the passion for the bigger purpose behind it all.
Last is the analysis of how your business is responding to the different outputs. This is everything from measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts to determining which day and time is best for following up with prospects. If you cannot measure your business, I can promise you will never experience the breakthrough you are trying to achieve.