Business Planning Beyond The Numbers

November 9, 2015

by Teresa Riccobuono

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It’s the time of year to develop a 2016 business plan. Many advisors believe the business plan consists solely of revenue, new-client acquisition and acquiring new assets. But there is much more than just a few numbers.

Values are at the foundation

At the heart of every plan are your values. If you have never gone through a values exercise, I encourage you to do so. ListofValues.com has an extensive list from which you can choose. Narrow the list to your top five. These values will be the foundation for decisions you make from here on out.

Next: Mission and vision

Once you have your foundation, you are in a much better position to develop your mission and vision statements. Refer to my article, Create Mission and Vision Statements That Drive Your Business.

Next up, the numbers

Once these foundational pieces are complete, develop the numbers portion of your business plan. Some advisors go with just a few numbers, such as those I noted in the introduction. Others go into much more detail: total revenue (broken down by investment management revenue, insurance revenue, planning fee revenue), number of new clients, number of high-value clients and the number of financial plans. Make sure your numbers are realistic, but challenging.

If you set your goal too high, you will subconsciously give up, thinking “there is no way I am going to hit that target.”

If you set your goal too low, there is no driving force behind taking action. You assume you will reach your goal irrespective of what you do or don’t do.

Aspects often forgotten

Once advisors get their numbers together, they think they are finished with business planning. Not so. This is where the plan truly begins – a plan to turn the goal into action items. Without action, a plan is just a document.

Now you decide what needs to occur in order for you to reach your goal.

Two areas to support your goal

When you begin to break down what needs to occur in order for you to reach your goal, focus on two major areas: marketing and team development.

Marketing itself can be broken down into two categories: client service and client acquisition

The best marketing activity you can engage in is to take exceptionally good care of your existing clients. If your client service model is in need of work, start there before heading down the path of client-acquisition activities.

If your clients don’t feel you are referable, you are shooting yourself in the foot by dedicating resources to client acquisition. If new clients come into your less-than-stellar client-service model, they won’t refer you.

If your client-service model is in excellent shape, then focus on the client-acquisition side of the marketing umbrella.

Following the same path, there are two types of client acquisition activities: passive and active.

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Business Planning Beyond The Numbers