Check Yes for an Efficient Advisory Practice

Last night, I was in a fit of exasperation with my two young sons (ages 5 and 7). It seems that they “forgot” that they have to brush their teeth EVERY night. You would think that night after night with the same routine, they would have it down with no questions asked.

My wife, much more organized and efficient than I, decided that we will institute a checklist for the boys’ daily tasks. (“Chores” seemed too much like “my parents” to say in front of them). This morning at the breakfast table, we all agreed to what tasks need to be done, when they need to be done and created a list that the boys can check off. With the daily schedule fresh in my mind, I started to think about how many advisor firms could benefit from the minds of a 5 and 7 year old. And no, I am not talking about child labor.

Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)
Most of us run a pretty efficient practice. We have manuals and procedures for our offices, we train our staff on exactly  how and when things need to be done. We’ve built our practices on years and years of routine so that most days we run on autopilot. But where is the checklist for our tasks?

When you are done for the day, do you sometimes wonder where the time went? After a meeting with an important client or prospect, do you sometimes smack yourself and say “I forgot to say X or I forgot to show Y”? (I am assuming you did remember to brush your teeth). If we create lists and procedures for our staff, why don’t we create one for ourselves? As I write this post, I am on a flight from Philly to Dallas; I bet the pilot and co-pilot went through their pre-flight list before we left the gate.

Do a post-mortem
Most of us are just now getting through with the cycle of year-end client review meetings. How did it go?
• Were you organized and efficient for each meeting?
•  Did your clients all have the same experience?
• Did you have all the materials necessary for each meeting?
• Did you have a consistent message, ask for referrals and set the next meeting with the client during your review meeting?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may benefit from a checklist approach to creating a successful client meeting (or any type of meeting for that matter).  An article posted over the summer, Unchecked Growth, does a good job of laying out the benefits of creating a checklist, as well as provides best practices to get started.

We all strive for efficiency and productivity in our days. Who is “checking” on you? Anyone want to share an example?

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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