Screw the business plan, I’ve got a V2MOM!



Please don’t get caught by the business planning trap.  I’ll tell you right now, business plans don’t work.  (And they rob you of a ton of time during their creation).

Business plans are written for one person.  Your bank manager.  The only reason they need this document is to follow protocol.  Protocol says that a person who has completed a business plan has “thought through” their business.  As far as I’m concerned, a business plan it total B.S.

There’s a big difference between working “on” your business vs. “in” your business.  A full blog post could be written on the difference (and I’m sure if you Google’d this, you’d find a bunch).  Working ON your business is what business owners do.  Working IN your business is what employees do.  We’re business owners.  Say no more.

You have a passion deep down in side of you.  It’s what’s driving you.  It’s what makes you better at one thing than anyone else.  It’s your competitive advantage.  It’s that one little thing you are insanely good at.  Your business needs to become an extension of this passion to be successful.

If you don’t harness that passion, you get lumped into the same category as all of the others in your industry.  And, if your market is anything like my market, getting lumped into that “looks like everyone else” bucket sucks.

The next time you walk into an industry conference, pause and ask yourself if you want to be lumped into the same category as 90% of the people there.  I’ll let you hang on that thought for a while…

Ok, so what do you do.  Well, I’d like to introduce you to two documents.  The V2MOM and My Ideal Week.

I first found out about the V2MOM when I read Marc Benioff’s book “Behind The Cloud” (a book I strongly urge you to read – I have a link to it on our Recommended Reading page).  If you don’t know Marc, he is the ridiculously successful business owner and creator of Salesforce.com.  In any event, he created the V2MOM and credits its use as one of the main reasons he became successful and as soon as I was taken through how it is used, I was blown away with how clear I was able to get on what I needed to do to take my business to the next level.

So, at the beginning of my fiscal year in 2011, I completed my V2MOM.  (Check out this previous post I wrote on V2MOM for further details)

For me, 2011 was a crazy year.  And, I’ll be honest, I didn’t hit all of my goals.  But, what the V2MOM did for me was keep me focused on what was important and allow me the freedom to tweak things along the way.

Here’s my V2MOM for 2011 and what I learned from it:

VISION: Define what you want to do.

The first point under vision is to clearly layout your top line revenue vision.  For me, 2011 was the year I was going to top seven figures.  Did I hit that target?  Nope.  But, since I broke the revenue goals down by type (Financial Planning Fees, Investment Fees, Insurance Revenue) I was able to see what area I need to focus on in 2012.  My goal for financial planning fees increased from the previous year by 25% but fell short of my goal by about 40%.  My Investment Fees goal was surpassed by almost $150,000 and I exceeded 2010 by about 30%.  My Insurance revenue fell dramatically.

  • So, what did I learn from this?

Fee based revenue rocks.  Commission based revenue sucks!

I also had the vision to be viewed as one of the leading financial planning firms in my area for the 55+ market.  This is a tough one to quantify but of the new clients that we took on, the majority of them fell into this market so we must be doing something right in our messaging.

The final area of my Vision was to create a team based financial planning practice.  We hired a financial plan monitoring specialist.  Six months after hiring this person, we fired our financial plan monitoring specialist.  This whole experience was frustrating initially but taught me a lot about hiring for this position.

So, when it comes to our Vision for 2011, I feel good about what we did as a team.  I acknowledge that our goals were set fairly high but the bottom line is that we were successful for the year.

VALUES: Prioritized principals and beliefs that are most important about the vision.

We totally knocked this section out of the park.  My stated values were to ensure that all of our new clients were managed through our trademarked financial planning process.  All client goals were tracked and reported on through this financial planning process and each component of the process was enhanced to provide each client with an exciting experience during each phase of the process.  We also wanted to align ourselves with the best in the business and fully utilize our “Top Guns” network.

  • So, what did I learn from this?

Working with each client through a very well documented financial planning process is exactly what clients are looking for.  Our passion and belief in financial planning really shines through and it is contagious.  Clients always left our review meetings feeling better than they did coming in to the meeting and introducing our clients to our team of “specialists” generated so much good will with our clients as they really see us as a trusted advisor as opposed to a sales outfit.

METHODS: How to get it done.  Actions and steps to take.

We identified that we needed to hire and expand our team and hired three people.  But, as I mentioned previously, we ended up then firing one.

We knew we needed to leverage our existing systems so we hired a consulting firm to assist us in customizing our CRM (Salesforce.com) and are seeing wonderful results from this.

Our marketing efforts (primarily through various social media outlets) are beginning to gain traction as our Podcast and online video series has generated new leads for us without any further effort on our part.  We have been able to automate our process to the point that 90% of the system works on auto-pilot and the metrics and tracking of these systems is easy to obtain to determine the success/failure of each marketing campaign.

  • So, what did I learn from this?

You can’t do this business alone.  You need good people.  Don’t be afraid to hire virtually (we have two virtual workers) and don’t be afraid to fire quickly.  We are very clear as to who our next hire needs to be and are actively looking for this person.

OBSTACLES: Challenges, problems and issues to overcome to achieve the vision.

I identified that there were going t0 be challenges to getting our team up to speed and needed to find a way of having our clients embrace the idea of a financial plan monitoring specialist.  I knew that we were moving into uncharted territory with our marketing efforts.  I had no idea if our marketing efforts would generate any leads and didn’t know exactly how to increase our adoption of Salesforce.com.

  • So, what did I learn from this?

If you are going to introduce a new team member to your clients, make sure that everyone is very clear on what the roles are of each team member so clients don’t get confused and staff stays on message.  Understand that just because someone has the credentials, doesn’t mean they are well suited to be on the front lines of your business.  Being in the trenches with clients takes a very specific skill set that is hard to come by.  However, we were very successful in our search for a Salesforce.com partner.  We hired through LinkedIn and will definitely utilize this resource further in the future.

MEASUREMENT: Specify the actual results to achieve.

I stated exactly what my top line revenue number goals were for each component of our business (Financial Planning Fees, Investment Fees and Insurance Revenues).  This allowed me to know exactly what my numbers were throughout the year.  If you can’t track it, it’s not worth doing.

  • So, what did I learn from this?

Try to have a reason for the numbers you are working toward.  I realized two things.  Because this was my first V2MOM, a lot of the numbers I stated were educated guesses.  However, now that I have been through the process once, I have a much better idea as to what are realistic goals for 2012.  I also understand that you need a great team to take your business to the next level.

The V2MOM (Vision, Values, Method, Obstacles and Measurement) is a great tool to focus you on what you need to do and how you need to do it.

So, go now and complete your V2MOM for the new year.  Then, once this is done, complete the “My Ideal Week” sheet each Monday (for further information on My Ideal Week, please listen to my Podcast episode FEE002 as I do a full review of how to use the “My Ideal Week” (Click here to download a copy of the “My Ideal Week Worksheet“)

The bottom line is that you need to track your progress.  You need to look at your V2MOM each week to keep you focused on what is important.  But the amazing thing is that simply by putting your attention to working “on” your business as opposed to “in” your business all the time, you will accomplish some amazing results.

 

 

8 Responses to “Screw the business plan, I’ve got a V2MOM!”

  1. “Your website is a gold mine of useful how-to information for financial advisors. Very generous of you.

    Nothing is more demotivating than not knowing what to do. What makes your blog so valuable is you give step-by-step details of what to do. You tell them the exact steps that worked for you to build your successful financial advisory practice.

    But there are those who, even when they know exactly what to do, do not take action. Some will take action but lose their focus and not follow through.

    There are several reasons for this. Some are so busy trying to make the present practice work they do not have the time. Some don’t have the courage to take the step, although they hate to admit it, even to themselves. Others mean to make the change but never get around to it. It’s like the New Year’s resolution syndrome.

    What have you found helpful for these folks? I’d like to hear from you and from your readers.
    Stan Mann,
    http://solutions4advisors.com/

    • Hi Stan,
      You are right. The majority of people will not implement what they learn or are exposed to. This is why in my opinion the “Motivational” industry thrives. The great Dan Sullivan has said that his favourite types of clients are “slow learners with cash”. Now, please don’t take anything away from Dan as he is a tremendous leader and coach but, the bottom line is he is right.

      My feeling is that people are so jaded today by false claims that leaping into a new idea has a lot of risk. So, my goal is to reveal the gold through my own experience and hopefully this will motivate other advisors to move forward with some of the ideas that are working for me. Also, I hope to reveal the ideas that haven’t worked for me as this I feel is equally as important.

      In any event, to answer your question on what have I found to be helpful for these folks? My answer is that only one of two things will get them off of their ass and move on a new idea – Inspiration or Desperation. These are the only two motivators I know to work. So, hopefully this site and comments like yours will help people get inspired to take their business to the next level.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Scott

  2. Scott, any chance of you putting up an example of your ideal week, thanks for the template, but I’d love to see a typical example of how you use it (which you could make fictitious to protect confidential information)…. I’d just like to gain a sense of how you are defining “crucial”.

    Thanks. Keep it up! much appreciated.

    • Hi Dominic,
      I have actually migrated to using a new mind-mapping program called MindMeister. Here is a link to the program: http://www.mindmeister.com/?r=1406

      If you click on this link and sign up for a free account, I will be able to share with you my new template that I use on a weekly basis. I will show you a real example (I will change the names to protect the innocent) but you will see first hand how I use the template on a weekly basis. In essence, I have at the end of the year, 52 weeks worth of historical “Ideal Weeks”. If you haven’t used a MindMap before, this will rock your world. MindMapping has been a real game changer for me for a variety of reasons.

      So, click on the following link: http://www.mindmeister.com/?r=1406

      Sign up for a FREE account. Email me when you have done this and I will share with you the MindMap that I use on a weekly basis.

      Did I say you will love this tool?

      Thanks for being a part of the fee based financial planning community.

      Scott

      P.S. If you are reading this comment and are wanting to get your own free copy of my template, simply register for a free MindMeister Mind Mapping account at: http://www.mindmeister.com/?r=1406 and then email me to let me know you have done this and I will send you your first free template of My Ideal Week.

  3. Scott, thanks for your helpful ideas. I’ve just signed up for Mind Meister. Can you send me an example of your “Ideal Week”? Thanks, Gail.

  4. There are many alternatives to the 40 page plan. As a user of the One Page Business Plan for Financial Professionals, it’s another process that is good for business growth.

    After a client creates their Ideal Client Profile, creating a plan using the OPBP online does take time. A loose draft can take 90-minutes. A final version 4-12 hours depending on how much business development someone has previously done.

  5. I like the mind map for ideal week .I am using this application and it is really fantastic.

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