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10 top tips for business practice perfection

Michelle Hoskin, managing director of Standards International, outlines a checklist of key items for running an efficient advisory business. How many can you tick off as job done?

☐ 1. Get your work–life balance right

In our industry work- life balance is generally awful – too much work, not enough life. But the simple fact is that, the more different strands you have to your life, the more effective you are. So make sure you get time with your family and friends, and that you use it well. And it’s not the amount of time you spend at work that’s important, it’s what you do with it – work–life effectiveness, in a nutshell.

☐ 2. Have a plan

It’s what you do for your clients, so why not for yourself and your business? If you know where you’re going, you’ve got a much better chance of bringing your team with you. People often fear change but much less so if they can see that there’s a plan behind it and that you’re not just making it up as you go along.

☐ 3. Recruit for the future

And recruit for new skills, not for the stuff that you just don’t fancy doing yourself. It’s worth investing time and effort in getting the right people with the right abilities, and making sure that you trust them. And if you find you’ve got it wrong – and it’s not an easy thing to say or do – one way or another they’ll have to go.

☐ 4. Delegate well

Financial advisers and planners tend to be dreadful at this, or really good – it seems there’s no middle ground! Make sure that each member of your team knows what they need to do and have the skills and tools to do it.

☐ 5. Manage time and workflow

Most of us just use our diaries for meetings – but what about all the other important things, such as preparation time and dealing with emails? If you set proper time aside for this you’ll be much more effective. And make sure your team uses the diary as well, so everyone knows what’s going on.

☐ 6. Write down your processes – how you do what you do

That way, someone joining your team can get up to speed really quickly, and it’ll also save you time you’d otherwise spend showing them how your business works. Checklists are helpful as well.

☐ 7. Don’t over-promise, either to clients or your team (or yourself!)

If you say you can do something in two days, you’ve got to mean it – and be able to do it properly. And if it’s going to take longer, best to say so at the outset rather than letting people down.

☐ 8. Manage your financial information and use it to make forecasts

Again, it’s what we do for our clients, but it’s amazing how few of us do it well for ourselves. It’s all about knowing what’s going on in your business. Make the most of your management information as well.

☐ 9. Ask for feedback all the time, and make sure you use it

If you don’t know what your clients and others really think about what you’re doing, your business will stand still – or worse. So use this vital information to constantly improve.

☐ 10. Be bigger, stronger, faster!

There’s never been a better time to grow an amazing business. There will always be doubters, those that try to put you off, but don’t listen to them – I have every faith in you!

Visit Standards International website

Follow Michelle on Twitter: @SIIS022222

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