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When you think it’s not working

Monitoring the right parts of your business and making small improvements over a week, month or year can make a significant difference to your firm’s success, says Brett Davidson of FP Advance

It’s easy to feel like the things you work on each day or each week are not making any difference to your business, but this is rarely the case. Yes, it’s possible that
you are working on the wrong things, but almost anything you improve has to have a positive effect so don’t get so hung
up on that one; remember, progress not perfection.

If you feel like ‘it’s not working’ stop yourself for a second. I know it is easy to look at your friends and peers and think “They don’t seem to be worrying about or working on the things I am working on and they’re doing just as well as I am.”

This might be true today, although it’s also possible that you don’t know everything that actually goes on in their business. Be careful not to compare how you feel inside to what others project to you on their outside – the two never match up and you’ll always feel second rate.

The truth is that changes occur slowly and with only a small impact at first. However, over time (for example over 12 months, or 3 years, or 5 years) these small changes can have an enormous cumulative effect; sort of like compound interest. You save a little each month and think “Why I am I bothering – my friends just seem to spend all their money and have a
good time”, but as advisers you know that this is an illusion that is only true in the short term. Over the longer term those small wins (each month’s saving contribution) can add up to real wealth later in life.

The same is true in
your business. The small improvements you make over a week, month or year do make a difference.

Focus on your business

You can help yourself to
stay focused on making the right decisions every day 
(as opposed to chasing the results by taking short cuts)
 by monitoring the right management information (MI).

Ask yourself this question: What are the inputs we need to be focused on each day/week/month/quarter that will produce the results we want in 12 months, three years, and five years?

This is not necessarily the same MI you produce for your accountant, your team, or for your reporting to the FCA.

Most companies I speak to have MI that is only telling them ‘what happened’ not
‘what is going to happen’. When you only look at your sales or financial results each month you are focused on the past, not your future. When you focus on the inputs that create your future you are then on the path to creating new outcomes.

Performance insight

Create some MI that provides insight into the future performance of your business. Things like:

• Marketing activity
• Process improvement projects
• Personal development programmes
• Replacing non-performing members of your team
• Improving your existing teams skillsets

These are the seeds from which your new future business can sprout, so monitor how many of them you work on each week, month or quarter.

Making the right decisions by monitoring the right inputs is the fastest way to achieve your wildest dreams and helps you overcome the illusion that ‘it’s not working’.

For more on FP Advance

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