Ask financial advisors if business planning is important, and most will say, “Yes, of course.” Then ask if they have a business plan. If they do, ask whether they refer to it frequently and use it to guide their business development activities. You know the probable answer.
While business planning is undeniably important, it’s too often an exercise in futility. Financial advisors spend days writing yearly business plans. They cram them full of ideas, projects and financial projects that often become a distant memory by February.
In our opinion, your business objectives for the coming year should be able to fit on one page. Sure, there are always exceptions. But instead of writing an MBA thesis this year, consider honing your goals down to a one-page document you can share with your team and refer to regularly. There is brilliance in simplicity.
Here’s how to use our One Page Business Plan Template.
1. 5 Year Vision: Start by envisioning your personal and professional life 5 years from today. Do not be concerned about how you will close the gap between now and 5 years from now. The principle is this: If you can envision your future, you can achieve it.
2. 1 Year Goals: Use this section to list your most important goals for the upcoming year. Most likely, these are financial goals related to assets, revenue and new households. However, feel free to include some personal goals as well.
3. Projects: Whether its migrating to a new CRM system, adding more fee-based revenue, or finding new financial planning software, there should always be some projects in the works. Use this section to prioritize projects by quarter.
4. Ideal Client Profile: You inevitably have an idea of the clients with whom you work best. That’s a good start. But you also need a list of criteria that will enable you to quickly identify the right people and qualify them as prospective clients. Your ideal client profile will drive all of your marketing efforts.
5. Differentiators: 56% of financial advisors claim “outstanding personalized service” as their main differentiator. If it “differentiates” everyone, does it differentiate anyone? You should be able to articulate and show what sets your practice apart from others.
6. Marketing Strategies: Use this section to list the core marketing strategies you plan to implement in the coming year. In our survey, 524 financial professionals were given a list of marketing activities and asked which actually landed $1MM+ clients and which did not. The most effective strategies were as follows:
- Unsolicited Referrals
- Proactive Introductions
- Professional Alliances
- Social Prospecting
- Intimate Social Events
- Educational events
- Social Media, Website & Content Marketing
7. $1,000/Hour Activities: For most financial advisors there are a handful of activities that drive the majority of their business revenue and future growth. We refer to these as $1,000/Hour Activities. High achievers try to spend the majority of their time engaged in these activities. Also, these activities should correspond with the marketing strategies you listed in section 6. For example, if you listed Referral Alliances as a strategy, considering adding “lunches with COIs” as a $1000/hour activity.
8. SWOT Analysis: No business plan is complete without a SWOT Analysis. Make a list of your internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. An honest analysis will help you identify what you are doing well, where you need improvement and the competitive landscape.
For a limited time, we’re offering a complimentary copy of our One-Page Business Plan Template. Grab your copy below.
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