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Are you a £1m adviser business stuck below £500k?

Brett Davidson looks at three key issues firms need to tackle to take their business to the next level

Do you underestimate your potential? I work with businesses all the time that might be turning over £300k or £500k, and even though they clearly have the potential to be doing £1m – £1.5m of revenue at good profit margins (25%+), they can’t quite believe they’re capable of it.

The challenges they face usually come under three headings:

  1. Belief

Sometimes firms have been stuck at their current turnover range for a long time. I believe it’s this lack of progress that grinds down their ambition. As a result they no longer ‘dare’ to believe they could achieve the goals they may have dreamt of in the past.

2. Identifying the right blockages

The most common blockages that prevent a giant step forward for smaller firms are:

a) The new client engagement process

Often the advisers in the business are not as skilled as they could be. Or, they’ve been doing it so long they’ve forgotten some of the basics they were taught 20 years ago. Fixing this blockage often only needs a few tweaks rather than a wholesale change: tightening up the first meeting, ensuring the discovery process hasn’t been overtaken by compliance, and making the process from first contact to final implementation as client friendly as possible.

The benefit shows up in greater pricing power, and better conversion rates with clients.

b) The ongoing review process

Typically this blockage is overcome by simplifying what goes on at review meetings. Remember, clients value their chat with you above everything else, so keep the ‘everything else’ to an absolute minimum. Often there is a ton of stuff that can be stripped out of the process, which has major flow on effects to the rest of the business in terms of efficiency and job satisfaction.

c) Workflow

If your two key processes (new client engagement and ongoing review) are stripped back as far as possible, it allows the business to map its workflows more easily. Often this hasn’t been done (or not done very well) because prior to simplification it was too difficult.

Once you know what really needs to be done, you can then work out the best way to do it and who should own it within your team

d) Staffing

Once you’ve got this far you can review the skills of your team, to ensure you have the right people doing the right jobs and ensuring everyone is working to their strengths.

If you don’t have the right team in place, then it’s far better to bite the bullet sooner rather than later and get the right staff in the right roles. Be honest with yourself and your team about whether it’s a training need or a case of finding someone new. Tackling these issues head-on is better for all concerned.

3. Inability to execute improvements

Let’s not beat around the bush; effecting change is hard. It’s not the tasks themselves that are difficult; it’s dealing with your own myopia, resistance or lack of perspective.

The changes themselves are usually fairly straightforward but almost everyone needs some external support. I have exactly the same challenges in my own business, and need to employ outsiders to tell me lots of things I should (and do) already know. But knowing and doing are worlds apart and that external oversight somehow spurs me into getting things done.

Take a look at these three issues in your own business and see if addressing any (or all) of them can help re-kindle your fire.

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