Do you want to be a rich or famous financial planner? | FEE017 – Transcript

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Do you want to be a rich or a famous financial planner? Now here’s where I’m going to ask you to check your ego at the door. I know it’s going to be hard, because us people in the financial world, we tend to carry around a lot of ego with us, but this is what you need to do. If you have an ego, then you are probably on the road to being famous. If you can check your ego at the door, you’re probably on the road to being rich.

So let me explain what I’m talking about. I was listening to a show where a guy by the name of Dean Jackson said something that stopped me in my tracks. I mean really stopped me. I was out for a ride on my mountain bike and actually stopped, hit the rewind button to listen to his comments again, and his comments made me really uncomfortable. Here’s what he said. He was talking about the Blue Man Group versus Siegfried and Roy, and he was reading an article which was highlighting the highest paid performers. Now this was an article that was probably written a decade ago. And on the list was Siegfried and Roy. So they had signed a deal with the Mirage paying them $28 million for eight shows a week for 48 weeks. Not a bad payday. Further up the list was the Blue Man Group. They had earned $69 million for the year. They were no longer performing the shows; they had 34 others doing it for them around the world.

Then he pointed something out which was interesting. When you go see Siegfried and Roy, you go see Siegfried and Roy, not two guys and a tiger. When you go to see the Blue Man Group, you go see three blue guys perform. Remember what happened to Siegfried and Roy? Yes, on October 3rd, 2003 got mauled by a tiger, and the whole show was shut down. And then I started thinking. You see the parallels to a fee-based financial planning firm? And it hits me when Dean posed the question. What would happen to your business if you were mauled by a tiger? This was when the shockwaves hit me. Something-, someone called it, in the show I was listening to, someone called it the curse of being indispensable. I now see it as just simply bad for business.

So I’m asking you the question: Do you want to be rich or famous? So let’s do a quick run-through of the traditional financial advisory firm. The promotion is all about the adviser; the meetings are all held by the adviser; the management of the clients is all done by the adviser; the administration is usually done by a single support person or team. But in many cases, as when you’re just starting out, the admin is done by the advisor; the marketing is done by the adviser; the research is done by the adviser; the selling of investments is all done by the adviser; the selling of insurance is all done by the adviser.

Do I need to go on? You getting the message here? Everything is done by the adviser or the adviser is supported by the support team, but the adviser is the bottleneck in the process, and definitely a bottleneck in the overall growth. The traditional model simply hits a capacity, and what used to be fun and exciting becomes frustrating and exhausting. Like I keep telling my staff, basically the solution I have is look at it this way, I tell me staff if you’re the only person who can do what you do, you can never be promoted. If you’re the only person who can do what you do in your business, you can never grow or be truly free.

Now I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Heck, I haven’t completely solved the problem for myself. But what I can tell you is that I take approximately 10-14 weeks off a year, and it’s all because of my approach to building my firm. Clients are extremely well-serviced, and I have a life. You see, we don’t get into business to create a job for ourselves so we can never see our family and we can never see our friends and we can never take time off and we can get all stressed out and sort of worry and… you know, that’s not why we start the business. Isn’t the reason why we start the business to be somewhat free? Well, you can’t sort of do it on the backs of your clients. You have to do it as a result of servicing your clients and building value and adding tremendous value. Now the solution is all in the approach.

So first of all you need to identify how you do what you do for your client. So what I’m going to talk about here is an overview of how to envision your business so that you can then take this vision and begin to build upon it in a way that’s not going to put you in the centre of the universe. In other words, what I want you to do is, I want you to map out your service offering. Now what you do is what I want you to stay away from. I want you to map out for this purpose – because this is just for our working purposes right now – what I want you to do is map out how you do what you do.

So here’s what we do. So break it into steps. I’m just going to run through some general steps that we have for the approach that we use. We have what’s called a prep for the first meeting, so there’s certain preparation that has to happen for the first meeting. And so really what we’re doing is we’re sort of mapping out the steps that we go through to go through working with a new client. So there’s the preparation that goes into getting ready for the first meeting. Then there’s the actual having of the first meeting and everything that goes along there. Then there’s the preparation for the second meeting, or the post-op first meeting duties. Then there’s the prep for the second meeting, the second meeting takes place, and everything that goes along in there. And then we generally have the presentation part one meeting, presentation part two meeting, everything that happens in between those meetings, semi-annual review meetings, and every that happens on the lead-up to those meetings, and everything that happens after those meetings. Then the follow up and that sort of thing.

So take what you do and the process that you follow and break it into these types of step[s. Then map out the steps to execute each meeting. So if your prep for the first meeting is one of your steps, so then what do you do in preparing for the first meeting? What documents do you put together? What communication pieces do you use with your prospective client? Do you email, and if so, what’s the text of your email? How many days in advance of the meeting do you email, and do you email them as soon as you book the meeting or do you email them in advance? Do you have a confirmation call to remind them of the meeting? So map out all the things that take place in each step that you just broke up. Now this may take some time, but will force you to work on your business for a moment instead of just working in your business.

The next step is to productise your service. Now you have to out-, basically you’ve outlined each step, so put each step-, I mean when you map it out this way it sort of-, you know, you’ve got an idea, you’ve got the core meetings that you have, you’ll have outlined each step. So what I want you to do is kind of put together a bit of a graphic, some sort of a graphic representation of the step. Now I’ve seen graphics, I mean you can see on our website, we’ve got a graphic. But there’s oftentimes a graphic of a circular approach that sort of starts at one point and then there’s all the arrows pointing in one direction and they all sort of hit a certain meeting point and then they outline what takes place, but it all comes full circle. And that sort of illustrates that complete financial planning service, so to speak. And then you can sort of have a circle that shoots off and says okay, these are the review meetings and this is what happens in the review meetings. So put together some sort of a graphic so that you could actually outline for a prospective client what it is that you do and you can point to all the different stages that you go through.

Then what we’re going to do is when you look at that graphic, deep down you’ll know what makes sense when you see the graphic. You know, just tweak it a little bit. That’s all I really want you to do here. Then you’re going to name each contact point that you have with your client. So take a look at the graphic that you just put together and say okay, at what point do I actually have contact with the client, like meet with the client? Well, for me it’s meeting number one, and for that meeting we call that the issues and concerns analyser meeting. Meting number two is the next point that we have direct contact, and I call that the confidential data gathering meeting. I’ve gone so far as to formally trademark each name to ensure the whole process is unique to my firm. I’d recommend you do this also with your process.

So it feels a little weird at first, when you start naming things. But then what I really want you to do is I want you to begin to use these meeting names in your meetings. It feels weird at first, but then so did ordering a grandé or a Venti coffee from Starbucks the first time you went. It was just-, it was odd. But now we go in and we order our grandés and move on and there’s no issue about it. So it does feel weird at first, but do make sure that you start to represent and discuss the meetings using the names that you’ve put on all the different communication points.

Then once you’ve got that, now you’ve got all the different stages that you go through; you’ve named each stage. Now what I want you to do is take a step back and ask yourself: What would the entire process-, if I was going to call this process something, what would it be? And I want you to name your process. Now you have what I call my first product that you can sell that doesn’t have anything to do with investing or insurance, and you suddenly become different than all your competition. Dan Sullivan is known for saying “If you name it, you own it”. And then you can charge for it.

So this is a huge thing, because in our world of offering services, it’s very difficult for people to truly understand what the services are. Like if you said to… that’s one of the reasons why I think people have issues with going to see a lawyer, because they go to a lawyer and they feel like they’re going into this black hole where they never know when it’s going to end and they’re always afraid. Whereas you kinda know, okay, if I’m going to go in and I’m going to buy a home and I need my lawyer to do the transaction, at least you have a beginning, a middle and an end, and they can say well our fee is generally this. I find it very frustrating when you go to a lawyer and it’s kind of an open-ended fee, they say well, we don’t know how long this is going to take but this is what we charge on an hourly basis. And it’s very scary because you never know. I have a client had just gone through a settlement, you know, court, suing back and forth, with his previous company, and he was one of the owners and… Anyways, long story short. But the cost involved. He said the worst thing about it he never knew when it was going to end. And there’s only a certain amount that you’re going to be potentially winning when you go through a law suit. But you know that out of that oftentimes the legal fees have to get eaten, and you’ve heard stories of people who have gone, they’ve sued, and the only people who walked away with any compensation was the lawyer because the legal fees completely ate into the settlement benefits.

So that’s why people do like a beginning, a middle and an end. And in a comprehensive service that we provide as a fee-based financial planner, it is very, very comprehensive and it can be a little daunting for people to get a true understanding of. So mapping out and putting a graphical representation of your process, and naming it and saying okay, this is the process, this is what you’re going to be purchasing, this is what you’re paying the fee for, now you can justify it and it makes it easier to justify the fact that yeah, you are doing work. It’s not just a matter of as soon as the client leaves you go back and move onto the golf course. You actually go and you put the plan together and they can see all the deliverable points that come from that.

Then naming the process just simply makes it your own. And again, once you’ve named it and you really do think the name is a good representation of what it is that you’re doing, I do highly recommend that you trademark it. It’s just a matter of speaking with your lawyer. If you’re in Canada give me a call, send me an email, I can refer you to a fantastic lawyer that we use for all of this, and it just works very, very well.

So now once you’ve productised your service, then you need to look at product fulfillment. Now in essence, identify who can do each step of the process. Now you may not have the full team in place right now that’s going to be doing everything, but at least you can identify whether or not it’s something you have to do or whether it’s something that you could delegate too. It will probably start with you, but don’t let your ego direct this decision, okay? I mean oftentimes people say yeah, well, nobody can do this, nobody can do that, all these different steps. I’m required, I have to be involved in this. The reality is you don’t. And I need you to start understanding that you are… you know, you do need to make yourself replaceable. Otherwise if you don’t you’re going to hit capacity and it’s a very frustrating point to get to.

So the starting of this process, once you’ve productised your service and looking at the product fulfillment, and you’ve gone through and you’ve looked at each step and said okay, who can do each step, you want to then start off by delegating all of the pre- and post-meeting duties. So if you don’t have an assistant, if you’re brand new, then yeah, obviously it’s tough if you’[re just starting out and you don’t have any cash flow coming through. It’s very difficult to then suddenly hire somebody. But get out there. Chances are if you’re brand new then you haven’t got much to do, so you need to get out there and get some work done.

So get out there and get your first client, get the first handful of clients, and start working with them. The benefit is that they’re going to be paying you a fee upfront, that fee upfront is going to be able to provide you with the cash flow that you need to then move to the next stage, which is then hiring your first support staff. Hiring that support staff and then delegating the pre- and post- meeting duties, so by that point you will know exactly what you do before each meeting and what has to happen after each meeting, and you’ll be able to then delegate that to your staff members. Because one of the challenges that I find when we’re bringing on new staff is trying to determine what’s this person going to do. Well, in this case you’re going to map out this is what I-, you know, they’re just going to be doing what you’ve been doing all along, which is going to free you up to be able to take on more meetings.

I delegate the solution implementation to product specialists. So when it comes to the admin side of things that’s where your support staff is going to be very instrumental in that, and so delegating all the admin, the pre-, post-meeting, meeting prep, that sort of thing. But then when it comes to product implementation I tend to – unless it’s something I really passionately want to be doing – I tend to then refer that out to product specialists for the implementation.

So I, for example, don’t run the money; I oversee all of the asset allocation and the integration with the financial plan and make sure the manager’s doing what they say they’re going to do. But I hire out the actual security selection to investment counsellors and portfolio managers. I work with the living benefit specialists, so even though I am fully licensed to do all of the living benefits implementation, it is an area, in my mind, it’s an area f specialty, and so we’ve partnered with the living benefits specialist in that regard. And again, as a result I found that the implementation, our implementation, has gone up, because now we’ve got just a team of specialists who really everybody knows exactly what they’re talking about, they know inside and out and they come across that much better. And I believe that’s what has a lot to do with the implementation that we have. I work with large case specialists for estate planning. I do most of that work myself, but in certain cases, when I feel I just need to build a team around me that I can turn to, I will work with large case specialists for some of the estate planning work that we do. And then we bring in the specialists to do a lot of the implementation.

So by bringing in the specialists, you will see your implementation results increase. And basically it happens where you just do a revenue share on things and you do the revenue split how you feel it’s appropriate. But you’ll find that it does work really, really well, and it does take a lot of the workload off your shoulders in areas that you probably shouldn’t be working in. But it allows the comprehensive in nature-, it allows the comprehensive planning to still get done.

Outsource and delegate all of your marketing implementation. Now I’m not saying outsource and delegate all of your marketing creation; I’m saying outsource and delegate all of your marketing implementation. See I have two virtual assistants. One does all the scheduling of my posts for all of my social media on a weekly basis, and I have a documented process that we go through for how to generate the content that we post in all of our feeds. He also does a lot of the editing and posting of all of our audio and videos. So these podcasts, for example, he’ll do some editing on those; some videos he’ll create, he does the editing and posts them up on our YouTube channel and that sort of thing. And then the other VA that we have handles all of our website management and maintenance. So if there’s an upgrade, if there’s an update or a patch or some new technology or new way that we want to do things. When we went and…one of the things he actually brought to me he said okay, we’ve got the site all running and it’s working well, why don’t I create a mobile version so that people who have the iPads and their iPhones can view it in a more viewer-friendly environment by using their smart devices. Why don’t I just go ahead and do that? Absolutely. So he went and did that. I wouldn’t know how to do that. And that something that he was just able to do for us and it happened very, very quickly. And I love it. I mean it’s just great to be able to have talented people you can turn to.

My client service manager works with my virtual assistants and handles all of my scheduling, pre- and post-meeting prep and compliance. So I’ve got the two Vas that handle a lot of the marketing implementation, and then I’ve got my client services manager who what she basically does is she handles me, my scheduling, make sure that everything is ready for my meetings, all the pre- and post-meeting follow-up, confirmation calls, all that sort of thing. And so what we’ve done is we’ve worked together in documenting exactly how to properly prepare for the different types of meetings that I have.

So what is my job? Well, my job right now is I meet with the new prospective clients, I meet with existing clients for review meetings – and this is also something that you may want to consider delegating. I looked-, years ago when I was really looking at office management and good practice management, I looked at the dental world. And dental practices are an interesting practice, because here’s the situation where you have one person who’s highly skilled at what they do. And generally when you’re coming to a dentist, if you’re coming to a dentist in an emergency it’s because there’s a problem. Maybe you’ve lost some-, you know, been struck in the face. A friend of mine, for example, he was playing hockey, he just wore a visor, and somebody came around from behind, the sticks went up and basically he got the stick in his face and it just tore some of his teeth out and ripped his cheek and whatnot. So he had to go get some emergency dental surgery. So he showed up and boom, there he was. Who did he see? He saw the dentist, the dental surgeon. That dentist came down, sat down, started working on him and got everything done.

But once you’ve gone through and you’ve got all your dental work done, what happens after that? Once all the heavy lifting is done. Well, what happens after that is you then go into more of a maintenance mode. And the maintenance mode is where you show up and what’s the first thing that happens when you walk in? Well, the dental hygienist cleans your teeth and does a full analysis and review, just to make sure everything is proper. Oftentimes the dentist will just sort of show up, walk in, put his hand on your shoulder and say hey, how are you doing, take a quick look at things. I mean I find that when my dentists does that he actually does the same thing that the dental hygienist does. So I think he just does it more for-, I wouldn’t say optics, because there are a few things that he does and he looks at and checks the jaw bone and all that sort of staff that he’s a little more trained for. But he doesn’t really do too much. And then he does a quick once-over and says okay, everything looks good, and then says great, good seeing you again, say hi to the wife and kids, and that’s it. So then he moves on.

Now do I feel like I didn’t get service in that environment? Well, no, I feel like I’ve been totally, properly serviced. Because I went in there, I don’t expect my dentist to clean my teeth. And nor should you. I mean I don’t expect that when I go to-, like I had to have some surgery on my left ankle, I had to-, I snapped my Achilles tendon in a bad water ski accident. And so if I… when I wanted to-, when the surgery had to be done, who did I want doing the surgery? I wanted the surgeon doing the surgery. But if I had to do an address change, who would I call? Would I call the surgeon and say hey, you know, I just need to get my address changed because I moved recently and I want to make sure any records come to me and whatnot? No, I’m not going to call the dentist or the surgeon. And I wouldn’t expect to speak to the surgeon.

Yet in our world, for some reason, people just always want to speak to the financial planner. Well, you need to start training your clients that it needs to be another way. Train them for who they need to go to and when. And so a way of doing that is if you get a request that comes to you that you know you shouldn’t be handling, forward it to your assistant, forward it to the person that should be and saying can you please deal with this and get back to the client. So that when the client hears back from our office, they’re hearing back from the person they should’ve gone to in the first place. So then they start to learn. And it happens very quickly. People will then just all of a sudden start to go to the appropriate person as a result.

So I use the dental analogy because it’s a good one. When you go in, you walk in, you greet the reception, they check you in, and then they escort you to the chair. You sit in the chair, the hygienist comes in, does a full once-over, checks everything out, makes sure everything is all checked, does some double checking on their system to see when your last x-rays were and whatnot. If there’s anything that needs to be done they organise that. But if you then say look, I’ve got a real problem. The pain in my mouth and this tooth is just crazy. Or if they recognise something that isn’t right, what do they do? They instantly go get the dentist or they book an appointment to sit back down with the dentist so the dentist can take a look at the details.

That, to me, is good service. And that’s exactly how I think a fee-based financial planning practice should be run. You need to then be the person that’s there when an emergency is brought in. You need to be the person that’s there that can recalibrate plans, that can do the heavy lifting. But you don’t want to be the one that’s seen doing the administrative work. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s not a good-, it’s not good for clients to see that you are the one doing the administrative work. Because at the end of the day, when you think about it, do you want to see your dentist doing administrative address changes or your surgeon doing address changes? It just doesn’t make sense. So keep that in mind. Use the dental analogy and I think that makes a lot of sense.

Now what I also do is I develop marketing programmes. So all of the marketing that we do is all done by me. So all the blogs, blog writing, the podcasts that we do, the free reports that we put together, it’s all written by me. And it needs to be. I believe you can delegate pretty much everything except the development of your marketing. This needs to be your voice initially. It needs to be something that gets your message across, and you need to be able to do so so that it sounds like you. It’s very difficult to have somebody else sound like you unless they’ve been with you for a while and they really, really have a clear understanding about how it is that you do what you do, and your writing style and that sort of thing.

But once you have the majority of your marketing programmes running on auto pilot, marketing becomes easier and easier, so you can then start to delegate a lot of the marketing. And you can automate so much of it. We’ve talked about it in previous episodes where I talk about the automation and how important it is to-, everything that you do, spend the time once to make sure that it’s automated properly so that you don’t really have to spend any time doing it again. And that’s a really important point, is to make sure that you can find ways of making the business so much less dependent on you.

And so one of the things I would do in this regard is really focus on delegating. Go back to that initial document that we talked about earlier in this episode where you’ve put together a comprehensive look at what it is and how it is that you do what you do. And then start to itemise. Well, who should be doing that? Now maybe the person that should be doing it doesn’t exist in your office at this point; maybe it’s a new hire that has to take place. But you probably wouldn’t have recognised that unless you started itemising the role that needs to be hired for. And if you see that there’s one role that keeps on showing up on that delegation list, and you don’t have somebody that fulfills that role, then that could be someone that you could look for hiring.

The other thing you want to do is, on the product implementation and on the fulfillment side of things, is put the client as the centre of your chart, so to speak. And then from there you want to then branch off like spokes on a wheel and say okay, what are the teams that I need to have in place to properly support that client. Well, I mean you’re going to need living benefits, you’re going to need insurance, you’re going to need critical illness, you’re going to need disability, you’re going to need life insurance, permanent insurance, investments, alternative strategies, taxation. So there’s a lot of different specialists that you’re going to need to turn to. You want to build that network of specialists up; you want to build that together so you’ll always have people that you can turn to when it’s necessary. So if you don’t have that, that’s a great opportunity now.

One of the things we did many years ago was we were looking for a new accountant. We weren’t as happy as we could be with our accountant. We were referred to this accountant but had no real relationship with them and every year they would basically just prepare our financial statements and move on and there wasn’t really any relationship beyond that. So what I did was I went to my clients and for the business owner clients that I was working with I said listen, who’s your accountant, and do you like your accountant? And anyways, at the end of the day there was one-, a couple of clients who said you know what, I love my accountant. And I thought to myself who loves their accountant? But these guys said no, no, this guy is great. He’s just everything you want in an accountant.

So I reached out to him and I said hey listen, we’ve got a common client, they’ve been raving about you, and so I’m looking to establish a relationship with an accounting firm. Could we meet? So we got together and met and I transferred our business over to them and then any time there were tax returns that needed to be done or corporate returns or any sort of accounting whatsoever, we just started referring business over to him, and as a result, in turn, referrals comes back because now they recognise and they see this firm is not just in it to try and get my clients. This firm is in it for the right reasons and that they’re doing good work for the clients because they can see the inner workings of what you’re doing for the client. And they also see that you are providing value. And then when your clients then start talking to their accountant and say oh boy, I have this financial planner who I just love, they’re just doing everything right, I really, really like them, maybe you’ll have an accountant call you one day and say hey, we’ve got a common client, they’ve been raving about you, perhaps we should get together.

So keep that in mind when you’re building things out, is that you do want to make sure that you are always working toward the ability to surround yourself with great people who can do the work; you want to be able to document everything that it is that you do that you need to do in order to fulfill what a client has requested that you do for them. So if it’s a comprehensive financial plan, then map out your planning process. You can see in the process that we’ve outlined in the show that there is a definite point at which we touch on each component of a comprehensive financial plan. I never talk about estate planning and life insurance or any sort of insurance until the second meeting, until we actually know what the client is comfortable moving forward with. Because if they’re not comfortable moving forward because maybe a certain assumptions aren’t there and whatnot, then I can’t make good estimates on what their insurance needs would be. So we don’t even bother with that, we put them in a certain order because we feel we need to get certain things done before we can complete the others.

So I would recommend doing the same thing and just sit down and take some time to outline for yourself what is it you do. But then start talking about how it is that you do what you do. And that’s what I really want you to spend time on, is saying okay, then for every stage that a prospective client goes through, or even a client goes through, how do we get ready for that stage? How do we implement that stage and how do we follow up from that stage? And just outline all the different things that need to be done. And you’ll find that once you start doing that, that muscle, you’ll flex it a little bit more, and you’ll then start to build that into your software programme.

So we’ve actually taken it to the extreme where we have our unique process that we’ve documented everything through unique methods and then we simply then go through in our documentation where we’ve customised the implementation of our services, through our Salesforce programme. So we use Salesforce as our back office database manager, and we’ve programmed in there that if a first meeting is booked, two days beforehand put the task to call and confirm the appointment. And so we map out all the things that need to be done once meeting one is completed, and the stage has been changed from meeting one to pending meeting two, then at that point you can trigger off certain tasks that need to be done. So the follow-up letters and all that sort of stuff to get done. And even the prep work for your next meeting. So it all happens, it all just sort of-, in our case we’ve automated most if it so that nobody needs to tell anybody what to do. It just shows up on their list of what they need to do.

So the more you delegate, the more you make. If you make yourself the centre of the business, you’re just simply making yourself famous. And if you’re the one, you’re the famous person that everybody has to talk to, then you’re limiting your growth. The less you delegate, the more famous you become, because everyone wants you. Thinking about this as you build your business will keep you thinking as an entrepreneur. I heard a great definition of what an entrepreneur is the other day. And entrepreneur is some who identifies a problem and puts in place a solution that others can provide. So think about that.

Because I think we get caught up in the idea that if we’re building a business we want to provide value, add value, and if we can go out and find a problem and solve that problem with our business, that’s great. The problem is we don’t solve the problem-, we do solve the problem for the client but the problem is that we are the problem solver. So what we need to do is we need to create businesses around other people being the problem solvers, but you’re the problem identifier. And so you can identify the problems really well, and that’s where your expertise comes in. And by doing so you can then build a team around the solutions, and build it either internally or externally through outsourcing.

So when I heard that definition I thought well, that’s a pretty interesting definition. Because one of the big challenges – and I know there’s many of you out there nodding your head saying yeah, this is very, very true – one of the big challenges in the financial advisory world and the financial planning world is that it’s a relationship business, and it all revolves around the relationships we have with our clients. So what we need to start doing is we need to start building relationships not around us, but around our teams and around our firms, so people know that when they’re calling they’re calling the firm. Maybe we provide them with a direct contact or a direct relationship manager at the firm who they go to first, and then that person will find, based on the question that they have, will determine who’s the appropriate person that they need to speak with.

So it just helps educate the client as well, that you don’t always call the head financial planner, because you know… I’ve had situations where clients have said to me hey, can you do this for me, and I say listen, I can do it for you, but if you want it done right I’m going to pass it onto one of my assistant because they do it better. And they’d chuckle and everything but they get the message. And I think that’s important, that you make sure that people are aware that if you’re not the one to do it, just explain to them through indirect methods. So what I do is I forward the email to the person who should be doing it, I CC the person who sent it to me, and I just make a little note saying hey, listen, this came in and so-and-so sent it to me, would you mind just taking care of this because this is what you do for us here. So if you wouldn’t mind just to get back to the client when you’ve got it done. Well, the client sees all of that communication, they’re like oh, okay, so next time I have that I’ll just send it to that person. And it works really well.

So definitely the more you delegate, the more you make. Try to make it so you’re not the famous one, you’re not the one that everybody has to go to. And the way you do that is simply by making yourself replaceable, document everything that you do. Document, document, document. Put it together into what I call unique methods of how you do everything. If you’re going to take it to the extreme as we have and then start documenting everything through automation, through your contact management system, then at the end of the day you’re just going to simply be building a much better business. And when you get to the point where you potentially want to retire, then you’ve actually got something that somebody would pay you for. So there’s a business model that now is becoming worth something; it’s not just you and a client list. It’s you and a business. So there are firms out there that are definitely looking to acquire other companies that have good business practices like that.

So as an entrepreneur, someone who identifies a problem and puts in place a solution that others can provide. I love that definition and definitely consider living by that one. If you’re providing the solution you’re not an entrepreneur. As much as we would like to think we are, if you’re the solution provider, it’s actually virtually impossible for you to be the entrepreneur.

So focus on tiger-proofing your business. Tiger-proofing goes back to the Siegfried and Roy. When Roy was taken out by the tiger his business shut down. You need to make sure that if you were taken out by a tiger your business wouldn’t shut down. Chances are right now that if you were taken out-, I know right now that if I was taken out by a tiger we would experience some significant negative effects to our business because I’m still relied upon too much. I’m still too famous in my business. And so we’re working on now to build a better business and just build out the solution offering, so that I’m not the one providing everything. And that is working well. I mean we’re having tremendous success with our Top Guns team, where we’ve got the investment counsellors, we’ve got the portfolio managers, we’ve got my support staff, we’ve got the outsourcing for a lot of things, for all the marketing implementation. And so that’s what’s allowing me more and more time to put toward product or marketing development. Because that, as the end of the day, is where I want to be spending my time so I can put proper marketing campaigns in place and make them so that they’re automated so that they just-, you know, so basically every day I’ve got new people calling me saying hey, I want to get together, I read your stuff or received your email, and I think we should meet.

So focus on tiger-proofing your business and build yourself a better business.

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Copyright © Scott E. Plaskett 2012 All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without Scott E. Plaskett’s written permission.

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