This is part 3 of 4 in our Prioritizing Practice Management Initiatives Series.
If you'd like to skip past my recap from Part 1 and 2, jump ahead to 3:35!
If you are interested in our 3D Portfolio Management Program to help you institutionalize your investment management process, click here!
Happy Wednesday, everybody. If you’ve been following our Wednesday Wisdoms the last couple of weeks, you’ll note that we’ve been putting out content specifically for advisors who are anxious to get back to working on the business, on practice management initiatives, and really just want to get back to whatever they were focused on in early February. And so we’re trying to give you a framework through which you can think about the rest of the year and really prioritize your practice management initiatives so that the work is meaningful if you have to stay in this holding pattern that we’re in, or if you’re in a state where you’re actually able to get back to fully working as usual.
And so the first thing we wanted advisors focused on, and we spoke about this two sessions ago was growth and client acquisition, and really spending the month of June reflecting on one question, what is our greatest revenue generating and client acquisition opportunity right now? Folks are really anxious to get back to generating new business, and I think the ones who are going to do it successfully are going to use what they’ve learned during this pandemic about themselves, about the practice they’ve built, about their brands and what it means in the marketplace to guide how they focus on client acquisition moving forward. And so I spoke about this two weeks ago, but I’ll just repeat this one piece.
The firms that are really going to capitalize off of what’s happened are the ones who can hone in on the single thing that they can put their marketing dollars into that will have the highest return on investment through year end. And so that may be putting out more customized content for your target market. That may be realizing that centers of influence really turn to you as a key resource, and using that information to launch a center of influence resource center for your CPAs and doing some sort of more formalized joint work with them. Or maybe you’ve noticed that many advisors in your broker dealer and firm have turned to you during this time as a thought leader, and have really relied on your team and you for guidance. And so maybe you think about spending the next six, seven months positioning an offer for retiring advisors, or solopreneur advisors who potentially might want to join your practice. My point is, focus deeply on one specific initiative within growth and client acquisition that ties to what you learned about yourself and your business over the past two months.
Okay. So that was the first thing. The second thing, hopefully you’re focused on this in July is really taking an inventory of your team and assessing a couple of things. The technical competency, the problem solving ability, and the coachability and cultural fit of each team member. If you’re out in the marketplace saying that you run a boutique practice where each team member wears multiple hats and can really pivot between roles, well now’s the time to really reflect on whether you have that business or not, because many people say that and then something like this happens and we realize how inflexible our culture actually is. So doing some of that reflective work and having some development conversations with team members in July, really important.
And then we’re in August, and that’s our topic for today. Just like we talked about taking inventory of your team last week, this week is about taking inventory of your processes and infrastructure. And I’m going to give you a really simple exercise that applies whether you are a smaller boutique business or a really giant organization. Even some of the most successful firms we know of and work with, we still find that they’re reinventing the wheel and haven’t really taken the time to build, I’ll say, a consistent but ever evolving policies and procedures manual for the firm. Policies and procedures manual, or a continuity plan or whatever you have to call it doesn’t have to be some fancy legal document. It could simply be one shared document among all team members in the organization, where there is a total and complete outline of all of the repeatable systems and processes that exist within the practice. And I want you to imagine this document as a living, breathing document that serves multiple purposes.
Number one, it helps to bring everybody, get everybody on the same page once and for all, fully documented around the systems that are actually repeatable in the business and the gaps that still exist. So as you’re filling out this document, and I’ll walk you through it in a second, you’ll notice that … Well we’d love for onboarding to be systematized, but it’s really … There are so many exceptions to that rule, and here’s why. So that’s the first thing, bringing clarity and focus to the current team. The other thing that it does is it helps to create continuity. So if one of your key team members has to be out, if you need to cross train somebody, if you’re bringing in a new team member and wanting to teach them all about how to run your practice, great, here’s the document to do that.
So to walk through this really simply, the first thing is you have to have some sort of shared document or shared folder where everybody has the ability to access and see the document and update and refine on an ongoing basis. It’s surprising, but maybe not so surprising to me that even with advanced technology nowadays, folks still don’t have a way to really see everybody’s work in an organization. So our recommendation is use something like a Google Drive, if you don’t have an advanced CRM system, or really can’t wrap your brains around customizing that CRM. I’m in that camp by the way. So once your document, you and your team, and you’re doing the following.
You’re spending literally the month of August with each team member, intentionally documenting any system or process that’s repeatable. And so everybody’s responsible for documenting the ones that fall within their role. So by the end of this, you’re going to have a running list of systems and processes that range from running team meetings to … Because team meetings, by the way, should be systematized. You run your weekly team meeting with an agenda, you run your monthly marketing meeting, you run your quarterly off sites. There’s a system and process to them. So running team meetings to onboarding clients, to processing new business, to hosting a client review meetings, to investment management, to financial planning and generating a fee based financial plan. So literally everything. And each person is just writing a couple of steps that sort of outline what the process is for that specific process.
The next thing folks are doing is they’re aligning that system or process to the practice management category that it fits into. So at the end of this, I want you to imagine that you have one long running document, whether it’s in a Word document that’s shared on Drive, or it’s in an Excel document, you have all the systems and processes that are repeatable listed out with the step by step, as well as the practice management category that they belong to, giving you the ability, if this is in something like Excel to quickly look and be able to find and filter by practice management category or by the system or the actual name of the system or process.
The last thing you’re doing is you’re alphabetizing. So by the end of this, you’re going to have a long running list of all the systems and processes that are repeatable, and your first one is likely going to be answering incoming calls. Because that’s something that likely your receptionist or administrative assistant handles that’s repeating. And so what’s our process when we answer incoming calls? Do we say something specific? Do we look up in CRM what the segment is? What’s our actual process for doing that powerfully? And then you’re going to the next thing. Maybe the next thing is calendar management. Is there a way in which we manage the calendars? And then you’re going to client events and then client review meetings. And so by the end of this, you’re going to have a really long list of all the systems and processes, the step by step for each and the practice management category that each belongs to.
You’ll also notice that there are a lot of things that you want to have on this list that are missing. And so this gives you a framework to really think about if this was going to be an ongoing exercise for your team, systematizing, what are the areas we want to systematize first based on what’s missing from that list and what the team code decides is most important, and what are the things that we’ve already systematized pretty well?
The last thing I’ll say is of all of the repeatable processes in a business, the one that is without a doubt, the biggest time suck and the biggest challenge for folks is around investment management and how to approach the investment management process in a way that’s institutionalized, and that doesn’t take a whole lot of the advisors or team’s time to really think about. And we’ve created a program to help you systematize that specific area of your business, and in just six sessions, for an hour each session, we can help you get from thinking about this as just a sea of a ton of different options for clients and reinventing models for every single household, to really having a process that’s down pat and repeatable and gives you back a ton more time.
So feel free to contact us if you’re interested. Otherwise, I will see you next week. Same place, same time, on our fourth webinar in the series around branding and marketing and how to prioritize that practice management initiative through year end. Okay folks, have a great day. Bye.