Doing the tiny things right builds successful careers.
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. This column is written each month for a segment of MorningstarAdvisor called "Practice Builder." Many of the columns have focused on some aspect of time management or productivity for financial advisors, but in this month's column, I am offering 23 ideas or best practices for financial advisors. This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but it is meant to help you think about areas of your personal practice that you can choose to focus your attention on to help you grow and improve your business.
1. Clarify What You Do
With the market volatility, it is very easy to lose focus on what you actually do as a financial advisor. What do you love about your work? What are your strengths? What are the values you deliver to your clients?
2. Set Highly Defined 90-Day Goals
In the next three months there are approximately 60 working days with eight hours per day to accomplish your goals. Your goals must be placed in writing, they must be specific, and each goal must be followed with at least five action steps to accomplish that objective.
3. Focus on High-Value Activities
Time is limited. Even if you want to produce more, it is unlikely you have time to do more. Instead decide to focus intently on high-value activities: Host face-to-face meetings with your clients, talk to your clients about topics that are important to them, hold seminars, attend networking events, be involved in your community, and ask people to do business with you.
4. Work From a Daily Written Action Plan
Once you have established your high-value activities, take a few minutes at the end of each workday to create a written plan of action for the next day. There is not a single coach in America that would play without a game day strategy.
5. Be Realistic About What You Can Accomplish in a Single Day
We recommend utilizing a "5 before 11" list. Write down five high-value activities that you would like to accomplish and then make a commitment to complete them before 11 o'clock the next morning. If you did this for a week, you would accomplish 35 high-value activities. If you did this for 90 days, you would accomplish 450 high-value activities.
6. Utilize Checklists and Forms
Much of our business is routine, and you can save a tremendous amount of time by using checklists and forms. From opening a new account, to holding a seminar, to handling travel, make it a point to systematize as much of your business as possible. This will streamline your productivity and add consistency to your service model.
7. Take Your Favorite Client to Lunch
We all have our favorite clients. As you take your client to lunch, ask yourself the following set of questions: Why is this person one of my favorite clients? What do I like best about doing business with her? How did she first become my/our client?