5 New Year’s resolutions for more time and more success in 2024

11 January 2024
6 minute read

Happy New Year! Are you ready to wow your clients and grow your business in 2024? These 5 resolutions will give you the strategies you need to set your business on the path to success this year.

1. Take care of your cashflow

You are a business, whether you are a sole proprietor, SMME, partnership or company. As a business owner or partner, you have to take care of the bills such as any rent or rates, as well as pay any staff or contractors, such as an IT or compliance officer, taxes and yourself. Manage your cashflow well and paying bills, including yourself, will be quick and efficient.

Spend an hour or two each week checking your budget, monitoring your in and outflows, as well as your expenses. To help manage cash inflows, use commission models product providers offer so you know when money comes in to your bank accounts and can plan ahead.

If you charge fees for services, invoice regularly, and make use of an invoice system to automate recurring invoices. You can also save time on payments by automating recurring bills, which some service providers say can save as much as 90% of the time spent on manual account payment! Even if it’s 30 minutes you save each month, that’s 30 minutes you can spend with a client.  

Your practice management system may have cashflow management programmes and tools that you can use. If you use an accounting system such as Sage, the cashflow tools and dashboards will help you monitor and manage cashflows.

Added benefit: If you plan to sell your business cashflows will be a measure used to determine value. Having cashflow well controlled and the details readily available will increase your business’ selling price.

2. Use digital tools to save at least 10% of your time spent on admin with clients

Client meetings are the place where you connect with clients, get to know them and their needs, and advise and recommend products. But you can spend too much time in your client meetings on admin such as form filling. For example, help a client through a life insurance application form, after completing a financial needs analysis, and you could spend an hour or two, in one meeting, and then have subsequent meetings, phone calls and emails for further updates. With 1Life Vantage, a digital solution for financial advisers, you can complete applications and have them accepted in real time in 35 minutes. We work that out to a minimum saving in time of 10%, often more!

Even an extra 10 minutes with your client can help you identify future needs and help them with their budget. This will build lasting relationships. And some of the time saved can be spent getting to know new clients, which you will have the time for.

A further 1Life Vantage’s advantage is that you have accessible online records, making your compliance burden less onerous. And, you can work from anywhere!

Chat with your 1Life consultant, and any other providers you use, and find out what digital tools and platforms are available, ask for training and use them in your business.

Added benefit: Clients are wowed by real-time processing. When you can complete transactions in a short time in one place, clients receive excellent service and know future transactions, including claim pay-outs, are likely to be as efficient.

3. Maintain your accreditations, consider new accreditations and upskill

With new skills and services, you can increase and/or diversify your client base, giving you and your business better growth and success prospects.

The first priority is to plan ahead to ensure you can meet your CPD requirements, as well as update your accreditations if necessary.

Work out how many CPD points you need, and when, and schedule in any reading, training and presentations that offer CPD points. Your practice management system and/or compliance officer may have a CPD and accreditation management system to make this process more efficient, such as Masthead and Moonstone, and the FIA offers members an online CPD portal.  

You can also consider new accreditations, such as becoming an investment adviser, or upskilling in areas such as financial coaching. Institutions such as the UFS offer financial coaching short courses, but you can also check with Milpark and organisations such as the FIA for more upskilling opportunities.

You should also ask your service providers what training and/or presentations and roadshows they are considering and when, and any new product plans or enhancements to existing products so you can mark those dates in your calendar.

Added benefit: Sharing the details of presentations you attend can be good newsletter topics, ensuring your clients learn more about the latest trends in investments, insurance, and financial planning.

4. Get a communications plan in place

Planning to keep in touch with your clients and actually keeping in touch with your clients sometimes turn out to be very different things! Your clients want to hear from you and keeping in regular contact will ensure lasting relationships. Quite often, however, the time to do this simply isn't there. But, with the time savings you can make using tools and tech, you can plan ahead and connect regularly with your clients.

Take a few hours at the start of the year to plan regular communications. This will save time in the months ahead as you know what to communicate, to who, and when.

Your comms plan should include when you need to meet with clients for annual reviews and connect with clients on special days. Your CRM and practice management system can streamline these communications.

You can also commit to sending a regular newsletter to all your clients, such as monthly. Set up a day for this, draw up a list of topics and use services such as Mailchimp to automate your mailers. You can read this blog for more details on setting up your newsletter.

5. Use product providers who provide comprehensive solutions

Good relationships with product providers are a must, but you should also make sure your product providers are offering comprehensive solutions, so you don’t waste time switching between systems and providers. This helps clients as they need only give one set of personal details and documents, rather than having to complete details and submit IDs and proof of address for each new application and investment.

Advisers also benefit by having a complete, single view of each client and their portfolio, which helps you manage client relationship as well as annual reviews.

Final resolution: Get or update your succession plans

These are a must have for compliance, but also a must have for your and your clients’ future.

Clients do worry about what will happen if you are no longer around, or away for an extended period of time. They need to know that their financial plans will be in good hands. And, even though advisers can work well into their older years, there may come a time when you need and/or want to slow down and enjoy some downtime. Warren Buffet and the late Charlie Munger are good examples of career longevity, but not everyone can follow their lead!

Successful succession plans can take hours of planning and calculations. To save time, ask your product providers and compliance officer for assistance. They’ll also be the objective eye you need to assess your business and its net worth.

More time, more advice, more success

These can be yours in 2024. Technology helps you streamline processes, and takes away much of the admin that can eat into time with your clients. Commit to using the tech and tools available, and you will have more time to spend on your business, including more time with clients and more time to build relationships with new clients. The new year is waiting for you, and with these resolutions you can make it a successful 12 months.

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