Fail to plan, plan to fail
The biggest failure that damages most advice businesses - and how not to succumb!
You’ve all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. You might have even used it with your clients when discussing financial planning.
So why is it that the statistics show that less than 28% of advice businesses had an effective business plan in Australia in 2012?*
Standing on stage speaking at various conferences over the past six years I have asked the question of thousands of advisers, “Who believes that having an effective business plan is good for business?” , and I tend to get at least 80% of the room raise their hand.
And yet the large majority drop their hand when I follow that with “How many of you currently have an effective business plan?”
With the statistics showing that, on average, those businesses with an effective business plan enjoy 2.5 times more profit than those who don’t, it’s no wonder most advisers know the importance of having one. So why don’t they have one themselves?
We’ve heard loads of excuses -
- “We had to write a business plan once for our licensee, to qualify for xyz but it made no difference to our business at all.”
- “I write a lengthy business plan every year but my staff don’t engage with it and we rarely achieve the targets I set.”
- “We wrote one of those years ago but it hasn’t seen the light of day since.”
- “We’re too busy trying to implement compliance measures to stay abreast of legislation – we don’t have time to do a business plan.”
- “We know what we want to achieve in the business, we just don’t know how to achieve it, so a Business plan would only serve to remind us what we’re not achieving.”
- “We’re just too busy to stop long enough to write a plan. As long as we service our clients well we’ll benefit in the long run.”
And yet, the way we implement business plans for our advisers is very simple, they fit on one page, and they stay front of mind, as we track the performance of the business against what the principals set out to achieve.
It’s important that your Business Plan is written for the right purpose – YOURS, not anyone else’s. It’s also important that it’s full of truths, and activities that are realistic, even if the targets are more significant than what you’ve achieved in the past.
We’re really concerned by this trend, especially when the impact is already being reflected in the fact that profit margins have dropped to a frightening low of 14.8%*. We know that advisers and principals may well have more on their plate this year than any other, and yet this lack of overall business planning and strategising has a profound effect on the long-term success and enjoyment of a business.
So, we’ve decided to make it our mission to help reverse this trend and to breathe some life back into Advice businesses, so that they can enjoy the fruits of their labours and start having fun again! You’ll find a whole host of articles and videos with tips on business planning on our site and in industry magazines, and you may see one of our coaches speaking on the topic at conferences or PD Days.
Of course, we personally assist all of our coaching clients to design and implement their business plans, and now we’ve also decided to run some webinars so that I can help more advisers to create their own effective business plan. These will be interactive sessions, where you will receive our plan template prior to the webinar, and I will personally walk you through the creation of your own customised Business Plan. You will leave the session with your plan mapped out for the next year. Numbers will be limited so that you’ll be able to ask questions and interact with me.
We are pricing these webinars at $110 per attendee, and we’re happy for you to register yourself, then gather your team in your board room and have them walk through the process together. The webinars will run on 2 July and 10 July.
I’ll help you to better understand how to structure your plan, and share some ideas that will set you up to achieve great results next year. It won’t be the same as having one of our coaches right alongside you, but if you can’t manage our coaching services right now, this will at least provide amazing value for just over $100.
There will no longer be any excuse for you not to have an effective business plan! Help us to reverse this disturbing trend, and let’s all keep evolving the business of advice!!!
*Business Health Future Ready V Report 2012
About Sue Viskovic
Sue Viskovic CFP is the founder of Elixir Consulting; a proud mother of four; a sought-after speaker; a business coach; and author of a number of books and programs designed for advisers.
She is a former chair of the Western Australia chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), manager at Prosperity Advisers and a practice development manager at Bridges Financial Services.
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