Routine is not organization, any more than paralysis is order,” said Arthur Helps, a 19th century English historian and novelist.
While your established routine may seem right for you, it is not necessarily the best way to run your business. By asking those around you for their ideas, you can find new perspectives that can benefit your practice.
“[Advisors] who are often in a rut will make the same mistakes over and over again without people telling them,” says Jasmin Bergeron, a keynote speaker for financial advisors and director of the MBA program in financial services at l’Université du Québec à Montréal. He provides the three ways to get new ideas and get yourself out of a routine:
1. Survey your clients
Clients understand more than anyone else what you could do differently to improve your service. Consider asking them to participate in a confidential survey. Clients are often more willing to express themselves candidly in an anonymous survey than in conversation with you.
Ask your clients to write down their thoughts on your expertise, service offering and what they feel you could do differently.
To make it easy for clients, formulate your survey using rating scales or multiple-choice questions. SurveyMonkey is a free service that will help you compose this type of questionnaire.
If many clients are making the same points, you will discover the areas that can definitely use a change. For example, if more than half of your clients respond that they enjoy your client-appreciation events but wish they were not held in December, you will have good reason to change that routine and plan something that is more convenient for them.
2. Gather input from your team
Your team members are on the front lines, handling a variety of tasks on a daily basis, Bergeron says. They will understand what works well and what should be changed.
At your next staff meeting, explain that you are looking for ways to modify elements of your practice to keep it fresh. Your team members will likely suggest areas you have not considered.
For example, your marketing assistant might mention that most of your clients have subscribed to your e-newsletter, making your paper-based option redundant. You might consider using the money spent publishing the traditional newsletter and put it toward audio equipment to record podcasts.
3. Meet with your peers
You might think of other advisors as your competition, but your peers can be a great sounding board.
Get together with five or six other advisors you know and respect, Bergeron suggests. Take turns discussing your recent successes and challenges. Everyone must be willing to be honest and share ideas as well as resources.
So, when you bring up that you have been having difficulty relating to your clients’ young adult children, for example, your peers should be open to helping you brainstorm ways to overcome that problem.