This year, get more clarity

Hello and Happy New Year to you. I want to ask you a question. What is the number one thing holding you back from accomplishing more this year? What one thing, if tackled, would produce great results? You guessed it, get out of your own way! I always use the example of a person walking towards a mirror, and saying” why doesn’t that person get out of my way?” The hardest thing to understand is yourself. The hardest item to work on to improve your business is you. In 2018, what is the number one thing that you want to accomplish? Is it getting more ideal clients, upgrading existing clients, service, and revenues, or managing capacity and demands of running a busy advisory practice? The only thing that is holding you back, is YOU! To get more clarity, get out of your own way. You need a clear plan for your future on paper!

What keeps you up at night?
To have a better year, you need a better plan in writing. You need to work on that plan, implement the plan and envision the results. Are you blinded by fear inside? What if all of this really happens? I know that when I put my goals and plans to paper this year, I found myself being fearful of accomplishing what is possible. I understand I know that I am holding myself back for several reasons or excuses, including fear. However, this is not about me, this is about you. At least, I spent 10 hours on my plan for the year and creating one three and five-year plans. Now I have a plan that I am not fearful of. Are you going to operate this year without a plan? A majority of financial advisors do. Who is going to go over your plan with you, and giving you feedback to keep you on track? As business owners, we can create a plan, but who holds us accountable, you do. The same reason that holds you back, is the same person who holds you accountable. Consider having someone else go over your plans with you and hold you accountable, so you get rid of the fear.

What planning do I need to do?
There are a million resources available on goals and planning out there. Here are key practice management strategies when it comes to planning. Have a strategic business plan. This is your long-term 3-5 year plan for your business. According to Business Health Pty Ltd in Australia, only 41% of Australian practices have a strategic plan, and the ones that do have a 194% profit impact ( December 2015 Newsletter ) I would encourage you to read their newsletter after this one to help you with your planning. Next, you need your one year plan and it would include a sales and marketing plan or marketing calendar. I created a content calendar for all of my blog posts, videos, webinars, and workshops for the calendar year and put my year down to 2000 hours, which is approximately 45 weeks at 45 hours per week. Now tell me how you’re going to effectively service and communicate to hundreds of clients in 2000 hours per year? Which one of your best clients is going to leave you this year? The one that has minimal communication and receives minimal value for the fee they pay each year. When I start off my year, I am encouraged by great leaders who can guide us for more clarity of our future. After all, we start the year with a clear plan, and then we go to work on our plan, only to sometimes stumble or fail. Thomas J. Watson, former President of IBM said:” If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” One of my favorite quotes from Thomas Watson is You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes, make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success - on the far side of failure.”

Succession planning for your future
According to Business Health Pty. Ltd of Australia, only 39% of Australian practices have a succession plan and the ones that do earn 69% more than practices without a documented succession plan. I understand why it is not a top priority, again the word fear of death is near to all of us. Over the holidays I spent time documenting my succession plan and organized it in a binder. I told my family, if something ever happens to me, go to the black binder, it is all there. Do you have binders for your top clients to organize their estate and documents? Or do you have one yourself? Do your plan first and you will want to help others get it done.

Review last year
One exercise I do every January is looking at all the meetings and appointments I had the previous year, every single one and write down what worked and what did not work. Then I reason why certain things worked and try to eliminate activities and actions that did not work. I look at my coaching clients, speaking clients and training clients and determine two things, add to or eliminate. It helps me plan my time for the year and also my revenue and growth opportunities.

Start with a plan or get help
We know that advisors who have a coach or belong to a coaching program or study group earn 108% more than advisors who do not get help, according to the same research from Business Health Pty Ltd. We are talking about an external advisor who you meet with at least quarterly to hold you accountable for keeping you on track to reach your goals. I meet for a half day each quarter with my advisor to go over my plans and goals and report how my progress is doing. He is a someone who I work with to help me accomplish more, get rid of fear and hold me accountable. Who do you work with? If you don’t have someone, put it as the first goal on your list. Make 2018 a great year, get rid of the fear and have a plan on paper. If you need help reach out to someone. As legendary ski movie maker Warren Miller said:” If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do”. Email me at for a practice management questionnaire and a prospecting questionnaire to help you “think” and get started. Email me and put in the subject line” questionnaires” and hit send. When Thomas J Watson of IBM was asked “ how to achieve success more rapidly, came the quick reply ‘ Double your failure rate”

Make 2018 a great year! For a copy of our guide "Future Ready Financial Advisor" go to or
Join me at the Wealth Professional Summit, Canada’s leading practice management and technology event for financial advisors, where I will be speaking

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