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Advisors: Do This Before You Create Your First Strategic Plan

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Do This Before You Create Your First Strategic Plan

I’m not going to lie to you.  Advisors can do well without planning, and many do for quite some time.  Then they get stuck.  The owners try everything, working even harder and longer hours.  They are BUSY!  Yet, they’re reaching neither their business nor personal goals.  They’re often quite exhausted and find that they’re making more mistakes.

To become a high-performing organization and to grow rapidly, a company really needs a planning and monitoring process they’re willing to use to grow their business and themselves.

Got yours? I sure have mine!

Back in 2000, I finally came across a planning system I was willing to use.  Ironically, I’d taught business planning classes at a local college, but I had never created one for myself.  Like you, I didn’t need financing and the thought of creating a 50-page plan didn’t interest me in the least.

I tell people that I had to travel 3,000 miles from home (NYC) to find a planning process I would use.  I found the system when I attended a daylong event near Seattle and created a draft of my own plan.

I liked it so much that when certification was available in 2003, I became certified to teach and use the One Page(R) process in my own business.  But I found that the process needed a few customized assessments such as a SWOT, a business self-audit, a clear value proposition, and a few other business documents.

The process also needed to infuse the core values and strengths of the owner, and to encourage a shift from the mindset of running a job where you’re paid by the hour to running a business where you get paid by the value you provide.

It Always Starts by Going Back to the Foundation!

I found there are many benefits of doing business foundation work, including empathizing with my clients.  If you work with clients and ask them to do any sort of planning and you don’t have a plan yourself, you can’t empathize with your clients or help them optimally because you can’t relate.

Here are 5 benefits of creating a strategic plan system for your business:

  • Diagnoses how every area of your business is doing.
  • Clarifies your thinking and focus on the elements that are most critical to your success.
  • Tests your ideas without having to put large amounts of cash at risk.
  • Boosts the profits and performance of your small company or department.
  • Saves time and money, since they can be used over and over again.

Before Your Plan Comes a Shift

Most people call it a mind shift, but it’s much more than that.  I say that you have to “shift and get off the pot”!

A shift has 5 parts:

1) Possessing a deep desire to change.
2) Having new information, knowledge, tools, etc.
3) Writing down a plan of action steps.
4) Taking action and/or dealing with your fears and then taking action.
5) Celebrating your success.

A shifting tool that my clients read is the book “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.  It will supply you with quite a bit of information and help you realize that you’re running a job and not a business. Because to grow a business, to double or triple your income, you have to shift your perspective.  You want to be crystal clear about your position within your firm (both short- and long-term) and determine a business model.

I’m sure you’ve heard that you need to work on your business and not always be in it.  That’s just one of the many lessons from The E-myth Revisited .  The E-myth shows you what happens when you run your business without a plan or systems and how much better off you’ll be with them.

Tools like a value statement, SWOT, niche, and others will help you clarify what you’re doing and for whom.  That clarity will be “heard” by prospects and your ideal clients.  More importantly, you’ll feel more confident when you’re clear about your business, its message and its future, too.

Creating a plan now will save you hours upon hours of your valuable time and will help you make fewer large and costly mistakes. For some of my clients, their plan has helped them take a month off at a time while still earning money.

How Could a Business Plan Help You and Your Business?

If your business is running you instead of you running your business, then you’re missing systems. And the tools that I’ve mentioned on this page are all systems you can use repeatedly. Or should I say, you’ll want to use them yearly to tweak or update the foundation pieces of your firm’s tools.

Isn’t that what you need to make the mind-shift to turn the job you’ve created into a business? Systems that work and more time to do what you’re passionate about?

Below are 10 key elements of any planning or business growth foundation process:

  1. It helps you choose opportunities more wisely and waste less time because you have a plan in place.
  2. Having important business information on a single page will tell your employees, board of directors, potential partners or bankers where you are taking your business and how you are going to get there.
  3. The most important reason to have a business plan is to clarify your thinking, regardless of the size of your company.
  4. Knowing where you’re going creates hope and enthusiasm about the future.
  5. A planning process facilitates creative and analytical thinking, problem solving, communication, and teamwork.
  6. Planning brings out procrastination, frustration, differences of opinion and sometimes anger you have with yourself.
  7. Somehow, writing initiates the transformation from idea to reality.
  8. Writing allows others to participate in your dream and give you feedback.
  9. Once you have some foundation pieces in order, you can use them to determine the day’s priorities and make better and smarter decisions about your business.
  10. The tools used, such as balanced scorecards, templates, software, templates, etc., help keep you on track to the growth you desire.

I have a way for you to get your business and marketing plan done quickly and painlessly. Would you like to join me and just 7 other advisors in this exclusive workshop?  I call it Strategic Planning on Steroids.  Click here to check it out and save 20%!

Related: 6 Important Advisor Growth Systems for Success

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