Tales From The IFP: Business Frustrations - FP Advance

Tales From The IFP: Business Frustrations

BY brett

Tales From The IFP
At the IFP Conference, back in October, I did a series of short interviews with some great advisers who were circulating over the three days. One of the questions I asked them was: What was the most frustrating time in your business development? This is what they said.

What Was The Most Frustrating Time In Your Business Development?

Tales from IFP 1

1. “I had to do EVERYTHING.”

It’ll be no surprise to hear that the most frustrating time for these advisers was when they had to do everything in their business. As Jason Butler (Bloomsbury Financial Planning) said: “I had a lot of good intentions but not huge amounts of capability.” It wasn’t fun.

What do good advisers get off their plate?
Basically, everything! That is, every job that doesn’t form part of what Dan Sullivan would describe as your ‘unique ability’.

An exercise:
Write down all the jobs that only you can do in your business. It should be a pretty short list. Then, from that list remove any jobs that you don’t like to do. It should be even shorter. The jobs remaining on the list are the ones you need to spend your time doing. Everything else can be outsourced, or delegated to a member of your team (who loves the job, and is good at doing it).

What are some common tasks great advisers get rid of?

Get a PA or VA (Virtual Assistant) to receive all of your emails, sort through them, sending you the emails that only you can answer. (This could save you around an hour a day).

A good Paraplanner can do a broad range of jobs including: product research, chasing details on legacy policies and investments for clients, preparing initial cashflow models, writing reports and suitability letters, preparing investment information for annual reviews, writing up meeting notes. For this to work well your Paraplanners need to be as smart as you and your advisers (or smarter). If they aren’t, you’re paying a big salary to get work pushed back to you.

If you are trying to sort your back office problems I recommend starting with an upgrade of your administration team, not your paraplanning team. Paraplanners are harder to find and more expensive, and often won’t be fully productive unless they have great admin support. Great administrators are experienced in the areas you need help with (probably not 17 years old and straight out of school).

Other tasks great advisers outsource or delegate:
– Booking meetings
– Managing diary
– Dealing with client calls (in the first instance)
– Screening new prospects for suitability
– Compliance
– Marketing

Basically, you want to get rid of anything that isn’t seeing clients face to face for high value discussions and rainmaking for the business. 

2. “I had too many clients.”

Many advisers complained about having too many clients. An adviser can service between 50 and 150 clients effectively. Any more than that and it starts to get pretty challenging.

As your business grows you will be forced to re-evaluate which types of client relationships you (and your advisers) want to focus on.

I know trimming client numbers can be an emotionally charged issue, but if you are going to grow and prosper you have to find a way to do it that sits within your moral framework.

3. “My directors and / or business partners had a different agenda to me.”

If there are divisions at the top of the business, it is almost impossible to move forward and effect positive change. It will also have a big impact on the team working for you, and their enthusiasm for the job. No one wants to work for an organisation that can’t set itself a clear direction.

Sometimes you find that one or two directors are happy with how things are now and don’t see the need for change or continuous improvement. The important thing is not to let them hold the power of veto over you. If that is the case, you have no option but to front up to the issues and resolve your differences. If the differences can’t be resolved, and you have to part company and chart your own course, then so be it.


Stephen Jones (Cooper Parry) summed it up best when he said they were overly optimistic about what they could achieve in the short term, but not bullish enough about what they could achieve in the medium to long term.

If you want to overcome your own business frustrations then day to day it is imperative to focus on getting something small done. Put enough of those days together and you might just surprise yourself with what you can do over the course of your professional career.

click to watch Tales From The IFP 1: Business Frustrations Video


I’d love to know your thoughts on this newsletter, or any questions it raises for you. Let me know by leaving a comment below.



My next webinar Creating Differentiation For You & Your Business is on Tuesday 17th December 2013 at 12pm and you can preregister now.

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By Brett Davidson

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ABOUT BRETT DAVIDSON When you work with FP Advance you work with me, Brett Davidson, directly. My motto is ‘advise better, live better’ and I practice what I preach. I’m straight talking and get to the heart of an issue quickly. There’s no beating about the bush, just a focus on helping things improve. Ask my clients – what I teach works.