Blog Post

Business Strategy

The money is in the planning

Terry-Bell's avatar
Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner
4 months ago

"Where you ought to go depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat to Alice.

You don’t need us to tell you that the last few years have presented financial advisers with a mountain of change, challenges and competition. It’s been consistent and persistent. And it’s not likely to slow down in any meaningful way over the next few years.

So much for the owner to consider as they strive to run their businesses profitably! That's not to mention the personal side of life, where health, lifestyle, family, friends and the wider community all strive for (and deserve) attention, time and effort.

Achieving the required balance is perhaps the greatest single challenge facing every business owner. 

Reassuringly, while this may seem insurmountable for some practices, we’ve seen in our work with advice businesses (here in Australia and overseas) that this hasn't been the case. We've seen businesses that have adapted and thrived in the world of advice. And for the majority of those successful practices with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working, there has been one constant factor – their commitment to business planning.

Around one in four Australian practices have developed a clear plan for their business going forward. They’ve made their decisions as to where they want their business to be in, say, three-to-five years, and have determined what it will take them to get there. Objectives, strategies and actions have been decided, time frames set and accountabilities allocated. They’re good to go and looking forward.

As our research has shown for over 20 years, the benefits of business planning far exceed the investment of time and effort by the owner. As our Future Ready IX analysis reports:

  • Those practices with a clearly documented 12-month business plan achieved a significantly higher level of profitability (+172% in our latest analysis) compared to their peers without one.

  • Similarly, those practices with a well-constructed/documented longer-term strategic plan were 125% more profitable than those that hadn’t invested in such a plan for their business.

But if you’re with the majority of practices who don’t have a current business plan, it’s certainly not too late:

  1. Select a date now to hold a business-planning workshop (in-person, preferably).

  2. Invite all stakeholders now – their diaries will quickly fill up as the year winds down. Apart from the working owners, consider your key staff, business adviser/coach and critical business partners such as your licensee.

  3. Consider using an external facilitator – they can introduce objectivity, perspective and direction, while freeing up the owners to contribute as a participant, not simply as the "boss". If you are thinking of using one, lock them in now.

  4. If off-site is your preference (as it is ours), book the venue.

  5. Start pulling together the basic information you’ll need in order to gauge where your business currently is. The 2024 plan must be built upon a realistic objective assessment of you today: your most recent client and staff satisfaction results, key performance indicators, benchmarks and industry trends, for example.

    This may take some time to pull together, hence the lead time needed.

  6. And perhaps the biggest question for the owner to pose and answer: for the next three-to-five years, am I staying, growing or going? The answer to this (and it really needs to be answered) will inform your business planning for 2024 and beyond.

  7. Finally, after your planning session is done and dusted and the goals, strategies and actions have all been captured, commit your decisions to writing. And then implement them!

To be sure, it’s a changing, challenging and competitive world. But it can be traversed far more easily (and less stressfully) with a well-thought-out business plan. Why not start your future planning and put a date in your diary – right now?

For your consideration.

Updated 4 months ago
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