7 strategies to create and sustain the ultimate business
By Daniel C. Finley
If you are like most financial advisers, you have aspirations to build your business. Perhaps you've created business plans to help you reach your goals. But, ask yourself this: How many times have I created a business plan only to file it away or lose my motivation to follow it to fruition?
Advisers often create business plans with the best intentions, then get sidetracked with the day-to-day operations, leaving those plans unattended, and ultimately, unfulfilled. If this has happened to you, you're not alone; it has happened to most of us.
So what is the solution? No matter what time of the year or what stage of your planning, do not simply create a business plan. Instead, build a business blueprint.
Think of it this way: If you were to build your dream house, would you just have a general floor plan focusing only on the end result, or would you have an architect draw up detailed blueprints?
Similarly, building yourbusiness blueprint is about designing your business with the end result in mind, while including the details of how you will accomplish your desired outcome. The difference between a business blueprint and a standard business plan are the details-not just "why," but "when" you want to get specific business-building activities accomplished.
Most advisers lose their business plan momentum because they fail to detail how they will sustain the daily activities needed to accomplish their goals. Systematizing and automating your business-building activities will help you sustain and maintain your momentum.
Use the following business blueprint strategies to create your ultimate business:
Sharpen Your Ultimate Business Vision
Goals are an important part of any great plan, but think back to the blueprint analogy of building your dream house. You would need to have a clear vision of what the house looks like in order to have an architect draw the blueprints. Sharpening your ultimate business vision is very similar. It is about knowing exactly what you want your business to look like at specific time horizons. You must also know why you want this business vision to be fulfilled so that you can have some emotional attachment with the destination.
Compartmentalize Your Ultimate Business Vision
Once you know what your ultimate business vision looks like, it is time to compartmentalize it so that you can create quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly goals. By doing so, you make the journey much more obtainable and the destination a by-product of your actions.
Remember, in the financial services industry there are plenty of things that are out of your control-the market, clients' emotions and investor confidence to name a few-but what you can control are your activities. But how can you sustain these activities on a daily basis?
Anchor Your Ultimate Business Actions
The secret to sustaining your daily activities is anchoring, which means creating a strong enough reason for you to accomplish goals and a strong enough reason not to avoid accomplishing them.
One way to do this is to create a daily reward system. Here's how:
- Make three columns on an Excel spreadsheet labeling the first "The Top 10 People in My Life," the second, "Their Interests and Hobbies" and the third, "Daily Reward Systems." For example, in the first column would be "my father," and in the second column "his hobby of playing golf," and in the third column "a book titled The Greatest Golfers of Our Time." Thus, when I accomplish my daily goals, I will buy him the book. A variation of this type of reward would be to treat him to a round of golf once my weekly goals are accomplished.
- Create a punishment system for not obtaining your daily goals.
- Have an accountability partner. This will ensure that you actually reward or punish yourself. Otherwise, you may be tempted to not follow through, and that can result in less activity and a good chance you won't create your ultimate business vision.
Systematize Your Business Actions
Once you have your business vision, daily actions and anchors in place it's time to simplify your process by systematizing it. For example, identify one of your primary prospecting methods that is aligned with your business vision. If that method is seminars, here's how it might sound:
My ultimate business vision is to accumulate $12 million in new assets from new clients in the next 12 months. I will do so by having one seminar a month and acquiring $1 million in new assets from each seminar.
Once you determine how many seminars you wish to have in the upcoming year, determine the seminar dates and locations. Next, determine howmany steps there are to putting on a seminar. Let's say is takes six weeks from start-to-finish. What are the weekly steps and on what date do you need to accomplish each step in order to have your seminar? Finally, why is it so important to do each step?
Now that you have this information it is time to put your plan into action. But, how do you automate the process?
Automate Your Business Actions
Automate the process by putting each step into your contact management system as a time-sensitive pop-up to-do. This will ensure that you systematically do each step. When you get the pop-up reminder, drop what you are doing and focus on the next step in your seminar prospecting process.
This is a prime example of what a business blueprint will do for you. It can make the difference between doing seminars and just saying you will do seminars.
Evaluate Your Business Blueprint
Every great architect knows that you have to evaluate the progress of the plan in order to ensure the quality of the construction. Your business is no different. You are the architect of your own business vision, and you must determine if your business actions are effective.
Years ago, I created a business blueprint that called for 10 seminars in one year. By the end of the year I realized that besides the holidays, the summer months were the least effective time for having seminars. So the following year, I did not do seminars during the summer.
Evaluate your business blueprint by determining if your business actions are generating the results you need to accomplish you daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. If they are not, then it is time to adjust your business blueprint.
Adjust Your Business Blueprint
One of the best things you can do for your business is to take time to work on your business while you are busy working in your business. Adjusting your business blueprint is a time for evaluation, reflection, direction and execution.
The key to adjusting your business blueprint is to not over-adjust it. An architect would not add a fireplace to your dream house blueprint, only to take it out and then add back it again. Similarly, if we were to evaluate the effectiveness of our seminar prospecting example and determine that we are getting people to the seminars, but that we are not getting people to take action, we would not discontinue doing seminars. Instead, we would look for more effective ways to get appointments with the seminar participants.
The way to do this is to find someone-a colleague, mentor, branch manager or business coach-who knows the solutions, then apply those solutions and re-evaluate at a later date.
Although we can't predict the future, one thing is certain: If past business plans have not been effective, using the same process will probably get you the same ineffective results. Instead, build your business blueprint and watch your business goals get accomplished.
Daniel C. Finley is a former adviser and president of Advisor Solutions Inc., a business development consulting and coaching service for financial advisers. He is the creator of The Advisor Solutions System, a 24-week group coaching program, and The Monday Morning Motivation, www.advisorsolutionsinc.com/free.html . Contact him at email@example.com.
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