Your expertise is what makes you valuable as a financial advisor. And this expertise is part of a value chain. You employ your expertise to develop a sound strategy for your client, and the strategy then passes through a chain of links in a particular order; paraplanning, implementation, ongoing reviews, and much more. At each link, your strategy gains some value so it’s crucial that each link is just as strong individually as it is within a chain.
Each link will require unique elements to make it strong but there are common factors that can be applied across the board to form a robust and valuable chain. The factors discussed here are by no means a new concept, but they are just as applicable in a financial planning business process as they would be in any industry.
THE RIGHT PEOPLE. No process is fully functional without the right people. The right people will have the required skills to support the process, and their role in the process should be clear. Ill-defined roles or unskilled staff can cost the business time and money. Can you identify what your team needs to complete their work efficiently? It may cost you time and money to expand your team’s skills through training but so will the unnecessary mistakes.
ADEQUATE RESOURCES. You need to be very honest with yourself about the resources needed to support a process successfully. Is the process being achieved within the timeline you’ve set? If not, can you identify why? Sometimes you need to take a deep dive into your business processes and do some analysis. Evaluate each step thoroughly; the people completing the steps, the systems used, the external factors, and internal ones. Can you consider outsourcing some of the process?
APPROPRIATE STRUCTURE. Is there an appropriate management structure around each process? If a process stalls at a crucial step, who needs to be informed about it? If a task needs to be completed outside of the standard process parameters, who makes the call on that? Having clear guidelines on structure removes confusion and reduces delays.
THE RIGHT TECH STACK. Your processes and your technology systems should be friends, not adversaries. Having a good CRM, for example, will help you to automate your workflows so you don’t need to remember what everyone is up to; if you’re already using a system like Midwinter, Intelliflo, or Xplan, you may just need some assistance to optimise it. With financial planning software in abundance, it’s worthwhile taking the time to identify what you need to run your business processes efficiently.
Having a sound understanding of your value chain can help you to cut unnecessary costs, mitigate operational risk, and cultivate a culture that connects employees to your organisation’s purpose.