By Tim Murphrey
Every advisor needs to adopt a strategy to overcome common obstacles in their practice, such as competitive fees or difficult compliance and regulations. For my practice, I found that shifting my approach to internal programs, workflow and structure helped me boost performance to achieve my long-term goals.
With a focus on planning for both the present and future, you can achieve a more efficient practice that provides a higher-quality level of service to clients. Here are three solutions to operating a more efficient practice:
1. Evaluate from an outside perspective
The first step to overcome obstacles is to evaluate them from an outside perspective. It’s essential to get out of the bubble and start working on your business rather than in it. Look at where your practice stands today and where you’d like it to stand in the future. The difference between the two will provide an initial framework of steps needed to get there.
Once you start thinking outside of your day-to-day tasks and envision the ideal future for your business, then you need to develop a system to keep thinking that way. Make planning an active part of your business operations on a weekly, quarterly or annual basis – whatever works best for your vision. Identify key metrics, like production, prospecting initiatives, etc., and create benchmarks to accompany your timeline. This will help reaffirm the long-term goals and revise if necessary as you progress.
2. Add new positions and bring in specialists
While new staff members are an added expense, the return of more free time and increased productivity are more than worth it. Junior advisors, administrative staff and product specialists can help reach your practice’s target growth points. Where administrative professionals can assist with an influx of paperwork, junior staff can be trained to take on appropriate tasks and free up your day-to-day capacity to instead focus your time on leading your business and bringing in new clients.
Product specialists, on the other hand, can strengthen key areas of your practice, or bring you into a new niche service area. Someone with connections and know-how to secure underwriting concessions can increase revenue and quality of service for clients. For me, it’s been helpful to connect with insurance and 401(k) specialists who complement and strengthen my skill set.
3. Maximize time and boost productivity
Most practice owners are perfectionists and have a penchant for procrastination. A common problem for perfectionists and those with busy schedules? Just getting started on large-scale projects! These projects often take a significant time commitment, which only helps to fuel our procrastination. To help shorten timelines and get projects started, I often utilize an 80% philosophy.
I might start a project knowing I will only prepare a rough draft, completing about 80% of the job. It’s then passed off to a junior to do as much as they can to complete the remaining 20%. By the time it gets back to me, it only needs a few minor edits to be finished. Using this methodology, I’m much more likely to begin a major project. Plus, on average, projects can be completed in a quarter of the time and with a better end result than if I attempted to complete the entire project myself.
Your time is most valuable and impactful when spent working on your business. With thoughtful analysis and strategic planning, you’ll be able to shape the trajectory of your practice, and over time, realize a greater financial vision for yourself, your employees and your clients. With the right moves, it’s possible to raise your practice up to the level you’ve always imagined.
About the Author
Tim Murphrey, JD, CPA, CFP, is a 33-year MDRT member with two Court of the Table and 15 Top of the Table honors. He the founder of Capital Wealth Management, a preeminent wealth advisory firm providing clients comprehensive financial planning, disciplined investment strategies and proactive personal service. Prior to entering the wealth management field, he worked as a CPA for Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young). In 1998, he completed law school, expanding his wealth management practice to include a law practice specializing in estate planning.