Freeing Up Time for Growth Activities

February 10, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I am struggling with a time management issue. I’m very productive and get a lot done, but last year I did not follow through on my commitments to growing my advisory practice. I have a strong team and we have processes in place, but we devote most of our time to client communications and portfolio changes. These are the activities that fuel business, so I am reluctant to spend less time doing them. My preference would be to provide the same level of investment and client service but to find time to grow as well. Do you any tips for me?

David R.

Dear David,

Your question is a common one. Financial advisors in large and small firms struggle to allocate time in the best way. There are a few tricks I have developed over the years. See if any of the following can help you stay on track with your growth goals:

  1. Start with a written growth plan. Write down your current state and your desired outcome for success. Commit to numbers. Identify your goals in the different channels such as client referrals, direct mail and working with Centers of Influence. Be clear and specific.
  2. Allocate your growth goals by quarter, then by month, then by week. How many meetings will you need to have each quarter? How many new clients at what asset levels? How much time is needed?
  3. Break your goals into specific steps. Chunk them down as small as possible. Have a weekly plan, and a daily plan. What can you do each and every day to move closer to the overall goals? If the steps are chunked, they are easier to complete.
  4. Consider who else on your team can help with this effort. Can you outsource anything? Do you have resources you can find and leverage to assist you?
  5. Complete a time management “study.” Take two weeks and write down what you are doing every fifteen minutes. Be as specific as possible. Review the list at the end of the two weeks and circle any non-priority items. See if you can identify trends where you spend concentrated amounts of time that are “low-gain” activities (such as typing up notes or researching client questions). You could potentially delegate these activities to others.
  6. At the start or the end of each day, review what you have to do and organize it in priority order. Most people simply make to-do lists and don’t organize the items according to what’s most important. Stay focused every day on what matters most to your success.
  7. Set time limits and watch the clock. It’s easy to get carried away when you are interested in something. Make sure you don’t spent more time than is needed completing your tasks.

Effective time and personal management is often a stumbling block for financial advisors planning for growth. It’s sometimes easier to focus on the things you like to do and the processes already in place.  It takes discipline and focus to shift this behavior. Try any one of these suggestions (or hopefully all of them) and see if you can achieve some different results in 2015!

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