It’s time to sing a better song Planning and taking consistent action toward what you’ve planned often makes the difference between success and failure—growth and stagnation. But many people won’t plan, don’t plan, and create dozens of excuses instead. Right? You see this in your retail or institutional clients. I see it in in my advisor clients, too! Clients who get to the point where they’re ready to sit down and plan change the tune they sing. Something happens in their lives or to someone they love and they decide to kick excuses to the curb and develop a no-excuses mentality. They stop reliving the negative and move forward. They sing a new song of victory! 18 Notes RIA-CEOs Use To Sing a Better Song In a nutshell: plan, execute, measure, and adjust when necessary. Below are my “notes” for creating a better song. 1.--Speak the truth, especially about your personal and professional visions. 2.--Be ready for a new level of your destiny. 3.--Be open to new ideas as well as executing ideas differently. 4.--Change your mindset from being an advisor with a practice to being a CEO running a business. 5.--Get rid of the excuses that are holding you back by finding and trying on A, B and C solutions. 6.--Give yourself quality time to learn, read and have fun. 7.--Keep an Activity Audit for 3 months (list of each task/projects of where your time is spent). 8.--Assess your firm, target market, and pricing.
During your journey as a business owner, there will be business operations and circumstances that are tougher to navigate than others. I've listed 17 areas in which independent advisors commonly get stuck. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and as such you'll find areas that earn you a Hurrah! and areas that need your attention. Print the list and place a checkmark near 3 important areas to start working on now. If you find that you have more than 3 areas that need help, know that you’re not alone! These situations can be made more manageable with laser-focused consultative coaching. Living a full-filling life AND running a viable business at the same time Leading and retaining a growing team and client services Managing your time so that you don’t end up burnt out Deciding when to delegate the operations and/or management of your business Turning strangers into profitable and happy clients Getting referrals from ideal clients to other ideal clients Determining which clients to work with and which to send elsewhere Deciding when it’s time to retire or partially retire (succession planning) Learning when to delegate tasks and when to dump them Figuring out the best ways to sell, market, and network Determining which social networking sites to use, for how long, and for what reasons How to become a better leader Developing and/or introducing new products and services for your clients Deciding what technology to use and when to buy it Figuring out when to
Track “lessons learned.” As you grow your business, some ideas will work–and some will fail miserably. Many who came before us failed before they found success. RH Macy failed at 7 stores before he founded Macy’s. Einstein was expelled from school. Edison had more than 1000 failures. What they had in common, at a minimum, is that they learned from their mistakes and were persistent. Create a Lessons Learned Sheet to record the institutional knowledge you collect on projects, new forms, new processes, etc. Did a marketing idea tank? A meeting with a prospect go astray? Record the situation in detail on paper or in a database–as well as your analysis of why it didn’t work–and share the information with team to get their feedback, too. Now if you want to stop learning most of your lessons AFTER a failure or costly mistakes, create Lessons Learned reports after successes, too. This way, you’ll have a record of what you did that worked and next time you do the same thing, you’ll take what you did to the next level. Nothing worse to stymie success than being complacent too long! Before you create your business operations and marketing plan for the next year, take out some blank Lessons Learned reports and look at your wins and failures of the past year. Be in peace with what happened — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and move into this year with a clearer head and heart.
Even under stress we can do much good at this time in our history (April 2020). That's why the perfect question to ask yourself, as often as possible, is “what is the best use of my time right now?” I wasn't asking myself that question enough since I started working fewer hours, and so I found myself getting down in the dumps. To that end, I wrote this article as a reminder for myself of what I can be doing, and hopefully the list in this article will help you, too. Maybe you're like me and have been working from home for a long time. Maybe working from home is new to you. Either way, when you don't have the freedom of going out and doing what you want, because you want to be safe and keep others safe, too, it's easy to not be productive. When you can't connect physically with people (I'm a big hand shaker), life seems weird. When I just can't get in the car and drive to visit relatives or drive just for the heck of it, life seems more than hard. But there is plenty we all can do. Not just to keep busy, but to be productive and make the best use of the time we have now. Below are some suggestions of things we can do to help our business: Create an Executive Schedule. It’s a schedule of how you’ll be spending your day. I’m sure you’ve seen
(This article appeared in 2009 on FastCompany.com) Businesses can do well without planning, many do. However, even successful businesses get to a point where growth becomes an elusive goal. To become a high performing organization, to grow rapidly, a company really needs a planning and monitoring process. Got yours? I sure do have mine! Back in 2000, a major shift in my business occurred when I came across the One Page Business Plan® process. Now, don’t let the simplicity of the name fool you. While the process helps you create a business administrative, management, operations, and marketing plan, it's much more. Start a business by writing down important elements of what you've been thinking. Diagnosis of how every area of your current business is doing. Clarify your thinking and focus on the elements that are the most critical to your success. Test your ideas without having to put large amounts of cash at risk. Determine ways to boost the profits and performance of your small company. Is short enough that you'll want to update it during "planning week" each year. Planning on one page is a systematic and practical way to plan for a start-up. You'll get what's in your head down on paper where it does you the most good. If you’re a more seasoned business owner, department manager, or executive, it can help you plan for more success. Together with reading the E-myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber, creating a business plan are “mandatory to do’s” for
Delegate what you don't know. Delegate what you know but don't like. Delegate what you know and like, but isn't a good use of your time. And don't hire cheap.
One great way to provide value to your team is to help them grow. Whether it’s growing their career or growing their book of business, sharing resources that have helped you may help them, too. Books can be very inspiring—I’ve confirmed this many times in my life. For example, on two separate occasions, I’ve tasked assistants with organizing my business library. Just from reading the titles (and perhaps some skimming), these assistants were motivated to ask me how they could start their own businesses! Most firms don't think about creating an office library, but books are still a very budget-conscious and effective way to share knowledge. Reading is a top strategy for many industry leaders. That’s why they’re always asked, “What are you reading?” during interviews. Take a tip from the most successful people on the planet and encourage your team to read more! To begin building your library, ask your team members to suggest books that they have found useful. Next, ask them what’s on their “wish list” of books—maybe they have been meaning to catch up on the latest business best sellers. You’re sure to have lists of your own, right? There you have it: the beginning of your very own office lending library. Below is a list of my favorite insightful branding and marketing books. They are best when read and their tips acted upon. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen (by Donald Miller) In the past, branding for
On December 8, 2018, Elevating Your Business began its 20th year in business as a life and business coaching firm specializing in working with independent financial advisors and planners. As I often do, I was thinking about how to use this important milestone as a teaching tool for my clients and to help them discover something new to help their businesses. Now that my anniversary year has begun and it’s the first quarter of a new year, what better time to write an article? Before I even thought about starting my business, I had left my 25-year career on Wall Street in search of “something more,” which I thought was nonprofits—at first—and had decided to return to Wall Street when a car accident rerouted my life for me. I spent over a year recuperating and thinking about what I wanted to do next. I considered career moves including interior design, organizing, running a restaurant (until I realized my love for cooking did not include doing it for a living), and a few other professions. During that time, I moved from New York to rural North Carolina, and when I was finally able to get The New York Times delivered to me, an article about a new industry called life coaching caught my eye. The article featured Thomas Leonard, a financial planner known as “the father of coaching,” and pictured him in front of his RV, traveling the country while creating this new concept. I thought that life
Certified Professional Accountants (CPAs) are more than just individuals who do your yearly taxes. They can advise you on a long list of finance and business issues. Some CPAs are also Personal Financial Specialists (PFS™). They are advisors with additional experience, education, and certification that set them apart from other CPAs. Additionally, if you're looking for a tax professional, Enrolled Agents (EAs) may be what you need. An EA is a federally authorized tax advisor, empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels—examination, collection, and appeals—of the Internal Revenue Service. CPAs are part of a business owner's core professional team along with a banker and lawyer (and I hope coach!). Here are some suggestions on choosing the right one for you and your business. You can find a CPA through your local Chamber of Commerce, who will tell you the names of members who are CPAs. Also, when you attend other types of business meetings, ask other business owners whom they use and why. Most people spend more time conducting research to buy a new car then they do to find the best CPA or financial advisor! Below are questions and other considerations when hiring a CPA, EA, or CPA/PFS. Be different! Before hiring, interview three CPAs. Don't rush this decision. Make sure you have the best CPA and bookkeeper for you and your business! Are you in their niche? Pick a CPA whose niche (most of their clients) is
While I'm a big proponent of niching, like you, I'd like to help everyone. And in this article I'll show you how to do that in a way that doesn't drain you as you "try" to help someone. The goal, for me, as I believe for you, would be to give the person what they need to eventually become a client. See if this sounds familiar. You want to help everyone who comes your way. You don't want to leave anyone out. However, over time, I've learned, as I'm guessing that some of you reading this have learned, we just can't help everyone. And in some cases, I'm 200% sure I can't help someone. And it's not because they don't want help. Here's what I've noticed about people I can't help. Have you dealt with any of these scenarios the first or 2nd time you speak to a prospect? Or maybe a few months after they become a client? From what they say, questions they don't answer, or number of canceled appointments (already), it's evident the prospect doesn't really want help or doesn’t want to change. What they seem to want is a quick fix without doing the necessary work. In my work as a coach, sometimes, a prospect comes to me who really needs therapy or a 12-step program but won't go and having a coach sounds classier. They don't have time to do what's necessary for you to help them, and you'll hear how busy, busy,