Whatever you do this year, don’t just start where you left off last year. In the first week or two of your return, you’ve got an opportunity to review and reset. Hopefully you’re feeling rested and refreshed after some time off; the perfect time to look at how things are going.
1. Get clear – why are you doing this?
With a fresh mind, the perfect questions to be asking yourself right now are around what you are really trying to build. It goes without saying you have to earn money and pay the bills, but it’s not a very inspiring vision for yourself if that’s all this is about.
Take some time now to review the Clarity Questions below. They’re not easy, so feel free to return to your answers every so often.
- Why am I doing this? i.e. my business. Go deeper than ‘for the money’.
- What do I want my life to look like? What is my idea of work/life balance? And remember, it doesn’t necessarily have to be 50/50 to be in balance.
- Why am I sacrificing myself for this project/business? Make no mistake, if you want to achieve your goals there will be some sacrifices. In the words of Tom Brady, Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New England Patriots, “What are willing to do, and what are you willing to give up to be the best you can be?”
- What is my higher purpose? A purpose bigger than money.
- What’s worth doing even if I fail?
The answers to these questions could change the course of your life. They’re worth some time before the year gets into full swing.
2. Get passionate – who do you love to serve?
I’ve chosen my words carefully in the question above. I didn’t ask who do you like to serve, or even like to serve a lot. I asked who do you love to serve?
If you’re fortunate enough to be doing alright in your business, and are not in survival mode, then this is another question that can have major implications for your future.
Could you double down on the people that you absolutely love to serve? Could you refine the focus and the definition of those people, based on your experiences last year?
Could you refuse to accept anyone who doesn’t meet this new, tighter, clearer definition of who you love to serve?
What are the implications of only working with these types of clients?
Some people think I’ve lost my mind when I pose these questions. But I’m deadly serious. If you can start to make decisions to only work with people you love, then in as little as 12 months there will be a big difference in your business. In three years time you’ll be making more money and having more fun than you’ve ever had in your working life. Don’t you deserve that?
It’s the decisions you make today that determine where you’ll be in 12 months, three years and five years time. Choose wisely.
3. Get ready – do you have the proposition in place to serve these people?
Once you know who you are focused on serving, it gets much easier to critique what you offer them. Do you have a proposition in place to meet the needs of the clients you have chosen to focus on?
What are the top five issues or concerns that your target market faces?
I wouldn’t expect to see product-focused answers here. Clients don’t think in product solutions; they think about real life challenges. What keeps your clients awake at night?
- Are they in an industry that means they’re worried about their jobs post Brexit?
- Are they worried about how their children might get a start on the property ladder?
- Are they worried about how to care for their ageing parents?
What are the issues affecting your clients in your region?
Once you know and understand these issues you can craft your proposition to speak to your clients major issues and concerns. It will make you stand out from the sea of advisers whose websites say, “We do Insurance, Investments, Pensions”.
4. Get organised – do you have to team in place to deliver your proposition?
As your proposition takes shape, the next issue to address is if you have the team and the skills in place to deliver on your promises?
There are three issues that can arise here:
a.) Do you have the right team? Are you missing a team member or members who are vital to delivering on your promise?
b.) Do your team have the skills? If you have the team in place, could they be mentored and encouraged to be better? It’s vital that team members are continually developing their skills. Standing still isn’t enough.
c.) Can you manage your team? If you have the team in place and they have the skills, do you need a practice manager to take the day to day management issues off your plate?
You need a strong team so you can get back to being the best adviser in your business.
Now you’re talking.
5. Get focused – Make your goals input based, not output based.
When I ask most businesses their goals for the year they rattle off their turnover or profit goal.
I much prefer to hear goals that are around building new and improved inputs for the business. After all, it’s on the back of these new foundations that higher levels of performance are possible.
What quarterly and annual goals, if you achieve them, would allow your business to go faster once they’re in place?
Focus on laying the foundations for three- and ten-years time. Start that right now from January. Make all your business decisions long-term ones. No short termism. Short-term decisions and results won’t get you off the hamster wheel.
Take some time to think about your 2019 before you actually start it. Don’t just do more of the same. Get clarity.
Let me know how you go.