5 Key Decisions to Improve Productivity in Your Advisor Firm
Tell us if this soundbite sounds familiar: “I wish I had more time to spend on growing my business. I spend so much time in the weeds that I feel like I don’t have time to grow.”
We recently heard this while talking with an advisor who is struggling with inefficiencies in their practice. They love serving their clients, but their back office goes through tough stretches. Add to that the common rhythms of staff turnover, and you have one frustrated advisor.
If you want to become more efficient as a firm, there are key decisions that can help. Here are our top 5 to revisit.
1. Is your current tech suite helping or hurting?
Technology is the #1 lever to improve efficiency, but it also can be one of the largest headaches. Problems like a lack of integration and insufficient staff training can prevent technology from playing the role it promises to play.
If technology has been a common problem, it may be time to focus your attention on refining your tech stack. Otherwise, your technology has a way of pestering your team without any specific decision.
If you’re looking for an established tech stack that comes pre-integrated, you don’t have to look very far. Your RIA should provide you with an established solution to help streamline your operations. If not, we encourage you to learn more about ours at WealthPlan Group.
2. Delegate what you can – outsource what you can’t.
Financial advisors usually get started in the business so they can serve clients, not spend all day immersed in paperwork. If you’re not good at delegating, the opposite might happen.
When it comes to growth, being decisive pays. Within your team, invest the time to hand off any responsibilities that don’t drive growth to your team. The initial investment of time and focus is inconvenient, but the long-term benefits are significant.
If you don’t have someone on your team that can fill a specialized role, look for an outsourced solution. From back office operations to investment management to marketing, there are more resources available that require less investment than new team members.
Whatever the need, prioritize delegating or outsourcing your repeatable processes. Focus your time on client-facing service and business development.
3. Review your processes and support your people.
If we understand the power of delegation, why are we hesitant to do it? It’s generally because delegation requires a longer and bumpier hand off than we’d prefer. Once we hand off a process, we need to be prepared to monitor performance and support our people.
Regularly meet with your team members to assess your workflows. Identify vulnerabilities and empower them to find solutions. They are still responsible for the outcomes, but they will know you are on their team and equipping them.
Also, if you can implement clear performance indicators, it will help your team track their success in adopting new processes.
4. Place a high value on continuous learning.
When we hand off a task or process to our team, we don’t just expect them to do it well. We expect them to take ownership and improve upon it. The problem? Many advisors don’t invest in their team’s continued learning.
Think about your own growth in the industry. How often did you attend a conference or meet a person that expedited your progression? Your team learns the same way. It may take some adjusting of the budget, but give your team more opportunities to grow. Encourage them to attend conferences, webinars, and engage people who expedite their growth.
5. Establish a culture of efficiency.
“A company’s culture is the foundation for future innovation. An entrepreneur’s job is to build the foundation.” – Brian Chesky
A strong culture is created by alignment within your team. It also doesn’t happen by accident. If you want a culture of efficiency, you have to pair it with a vision. Wanting them to be efficient isn’t enough.
It helps to start with the “why” of efficiency. It’s not for its own sake. It’s to better serve your clients and provide exceptional care. If you invest in your team, support them in their growth, and align them around your clients, a culture of efficiency is the byproduct.
One way to help re-engage in this area is to craft a collaborative mission statement that is client focused. Why does it matter that you practice excellence in your work? What kind of impact do you want to make in your clients’ lives? How does each team member’s role contribute to the mission?
Other Keys to Efficiency
With those five decisions in mind, here are a few additional best practices to help you be successful.
- Streamline: Always be looking for ways to simplify or automate your tasks and encourage your team to do the same. The right tool may eliminate multiple steps that slow down your operations.
- Project Management Ownership: Different people on your team may prefer to manage their task list differently. It helps to have a central project manager who helps manage deadlines and communicate project needs.
- Breaks + Retreats: One of the reasons we struggle to develop more efficient practices comes from the fact we rarely get out of the weeds. For both you and your staff, consider introducing scheduled breaks or retreats to focus on looking for more efficient improvements.
A Home for Efficient Advisors
WealthPlan Group is committed to equipping our advisors with all the tools they need to grow. In our environment, you have access to tools like integrated back-office support, outsourced investment management, and client communications to help introduce new efficiencies.
Looking for better soil to plant your business? We invite you to talk to our team and see what well-supported independence can look like.