As unmanned drones fly military bombing missions, deliver our Kindles, and provide aerial views of land parcels for real estate development, the future role of human pilots becomes uncertain.

While I’m quite sure drones will not play a large role in your practice anytime soon, it will benefit you to ask how to use similar leverage to develop your practice.

When we were considering adding another person to our team, something caused us to stop and ask: “Is there another way to get this work done without adding someone?”

The work we needed done was administrative in nature, allowing us to free-up someone else who has considerable skills in other areas. So when we stopped and questioned ourselves, we began to look closely at the entirety of our business: our processes, how we manage our time, and the technology we employ.

We questioned any assumptions we may have been making and also the objectives we have for the business, not simply the objectives we thought we should have. What we discovered really shocked us.

By leveraging one new technology along with a couple of process changes, we were able to not only avoid hiring an additional person, but we also increased our profitability while simultaneously charging clients lower fees for the same service. These breakthroughs then lead us to question other aspects of the business to find other areas of opportunity.

If you’re wondering what the technology was that allowed this breakthrough, dare I say it’s for the best that I don’t tell you what it is. Why? Because it’s not simply the technology that allowed the breakthrough, it’s the act of questioning that opened our eyes.

If you begin to question your own practice in the same way, you’ll likely stumble upon your own breakthroughs, just as we did. With that said, it will benefit you most to offer some questions to ask yourself as you consider your practice, relative to your long-term goals:

    • What do your clients value most about working with you? Ask them if you don’t know.

    • What do your clients value least? Again, ask them.

    • What is your least favorite aspect of your business?

    • What tasks can you automate, delegate and eliminate?

    • If you could do this one thing all day, what would it be?

    • What is the most challenging thing you must do to reach the goals you have for yourself and for your clients?

    • What is keeping your clients from telling others about the work you do?

    • Why are you working with your current product and service providers?

    • Are there product and service providers who would be a better fit for your clients and your practice?

    • If you started over in this business tomorrow, how would you build your ideal practice?

    • What’s keeping you from building that practice today?

Experienced advisors know the biggest breakthroughs with clients are the result of asking the best questions. When we take the time to ask ourselves meaningful questions, we open our eyes to possibilities previously unseen.

We don’t have pilotless drones in our skies because they were the natural next step in aviation evolution. We have them because somebody dared to ask: “What if…?” Perhaps your practice and your clients could benefit from similar questioning.

After all, the goal isn’t to eliminate jobs or cut cost. The goal is to deliver a better solution and free people up to do better work, that is more suited to them. That’s a win-win-win. Every great solution begins with great questions.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips: