Practice management is one of the most important factors impacting advisor success. It influences every aspect of operations — from prospecting to client management, staffing and networking. When advisors streamline their operational mindsets, their practices have the potential to engage clients on a deeper level and drive long-term success.
My practice recently underwent a restructure to consolidate resources with a business partner as we prepare to share the same office space. Through the moving and organization process, I’ve taken the opportunity to consider my resources, processes and staff to create a successful, streamlined operation.
Use Tech And Staff
Our ultimate goal is to drive revenue and schedule as many meetings as possible with clients, but that cannot happen without the right process and human capital in place. To achieve that, we went through a complex human resource process that structured internal assets to empower and enable the team to operate with a high capacity. My practice uses a combination of technology and freelance contractors to supplement full-time staff as we restructure and reallocate resources.
We rely on a client relationship management tool to keep track of clients and prospects. Most CRM programs have powerful and flexible software to fit a variety of needs and supplement existing staff. Our CRM tools help the team keep track of and store a high volume of information in a central location to help us all understand what the client relationship looks like.
Although the upfront time and cost of investment to implement and fine-tune a CRM platform can be significant, after it’s calibrated to perform in the necessary capacity, it can fill in the gaps in your staff and process model to save time and money over the long term.
Some strategies can fill the staffing and talent gap that technology solutions can’t overcome. Answers to growing pains might be building flexibility into a staffing model with a mix of full, part-time or remote employees or relying on third-party resources.
Remote contract workers and freelancer communities are good resources for a number of potential needs — from marketing assistance, to developing paperwork and presentations, to virtual assistants. If telephones and bridging technology are set up properly, clients won’t sense a difference between traditional employees and remote or contracted workers.
Build Traction Through Processes And Procedures
It’s vital to implement internal procedures to ensure clients and projects don’t fall through the cracks. Documented processes help safeguard the time and effort invested in relationship development and prospecting. It was important for my team to identify and include the vision of the company and why clients choose to work with us — the why behind our core values, mission and objective — in our new policies.
Our practice adapted the Entrepreneurial Operating System from Gino Wickman’s book Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business as we developed processes and procedures to improve efficiencies and adjust for growth. It is a natural instinct to look forward to guide businesses into the future, but the EOS method encourages leaders to look backward and analyze the elements of their success at a micro level.
Through this process we took a holistic look at practice management and made necessary adjustments to encourage future growth. It’s important to understand the elements of past success as processes and future plans are implemented. Changes may come slowly, but the clarity can provide a vision and goal to where the business should be.
Expand Offerings Through Strategic Partnerships
Financial planning is a key component of my practice’s foundation and value proposition to clients. As our main tool, it provides a touchpoint to explain our services and goals for the client as we outline a strategy. Planning may carry a different meaning to a lot of different people, but it is ultimately a road map of how you will reach financial goals and objectives.
As we help clients protect, accumulate or distribute wealth, financial planning inevitably touches on other competency areas such as investments, risk management, taxes, estate planning and more. It’s important to develop a network of strategic partnerships with other professionals to understand these areas and create synergy to serve clients. If you lack the acumen or expertise to accomplish certain tasks for clients, farm them out to other professionals and experts.
As the client’s main advisor, you act as the coordinator between other relationships such as CPAs, attorneys or bankers. Networks of related financial professionals empower advisors to focus on key specialty areas, rather than serve as generalists.