One of my mentors used to say, always be teaching them the rules of business. I thought about that a lot. Don’t they already know? Isn’t that what college is for? Why do they need me to tell them how to succeed? I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not as obvious as we would think and that there is a cause for discord on some teams because of a basic lack of understanding of the rules of business.
Therefore, let’s not take it for granted. I don’t want anyone we work with to fall short of what they are capable of for lack of this understanding, so I’m asking each of you to read the following seven rules of business.
1. PROFIT IS ESSENTIAL. There have been conversations that make me scratch my head and wonder if some people don’t understand expenses that are associated with running a business. If you operate in the red for too long, you go belly up and take the whole team down. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interest from clients to vendors and wholesalers to every member on your team that your practice is successful and financially viable.
Perhaps you’re not the bookkeeper or the owner and so you don’t have your head in this on a daily basis, but if there is anything you can do to contribute to a healthy bottom line, by all means do it. If each team member referred 6 new clients a year to a practice, it could make all the difference. And I’ve seen that happen. If everyone on the team thinks about how the practice invests versus spends money and works to get a return on each event, prepares thoughtfully for each client interaction and responds in a manner that makes clients stick with you, it makes a difference.
2. GROWTH IS NECESSARY. I have been criticized for assuming everyone wants to grow their business, but this is not my rule, it’s a rule of business. Practices cannot plateau for long, they must grow to maintain value and viability. A practice that is not growing is dying. It will reflect in attitudes, valuations and ultimately in the demise of the firm. Don’t think it's ok to ever just rest on your laurels and just collect the dividend while you are still an active member of the business.
3. YOU MUST KNOW YOUR MARKET. Not only do you need to clearly know who you’re there to serve, but you need to what they expect. That applies to the entire team. When you create a real-life scenario of the people you are designed to serve, it brings real names to mind. Then you can outline the types of things that appeal to them. How can you give great service if you don’t know who they are and what they are expecting from your firm. The client experience is the collective sum of every touch from your entire team.
4. THE CLIENT COMES FIRST, but not always. In any and every way possible, knock their socks off. But you still need to be profitable, get all your work done and not let vampires suck the life out of you. Discernment is necessary so that you can wow them without making the wrong sacrifices.
5. IT GENERALLY DOES MATTER IF YOU GET IT DONE TODAY INSTEAD OF TOMORROW. Time is money. If you can do twice as much in half the time, and do it well, you’re worth your weight in gold. I’ve seen some extraordinary teams that can do this and make it look easy. That is even better. Working diligently should not look like you are flustered. It should look like you really know what you are doing and you know how to do it right. The more you get done in a day, the better for you. Keep your head in the game. Just don’t burn yourself out in the process.
6. WHAT YOU COMMUNICATE TO OTHERS IS A REFLECTION OF YOUR BRAND. How you dress, speak and conduct yourself should be congruent with your brand. Yes, every single person in the firm. What you say about your practice, your team and your career is a direct reflection on your organization and your own commitment to the organization. If you have something negative to say, be sure you are saying it to someone who can do something about it in a constructive manner. Don’t be a team member who tarnishes the brand everyone is working so hard to polish.
7. YOU CAN'T REACH A GOAL YOU HAVEN'T SET. Do you know what a good day, week, month or year is for you? I believe we all want to know how to win. Are there targets you are shooting to hit? Are you hitting them? Do you believe you can? If everyone knows the part they play and what is expected of them, you will find the synergy that everyone talks about where 1+1=3. Without it, you might find that 1+1=1.
We hope you enjoy your summer and sail through your goals for this third quarter. I look forward to seeing you work together and achieve great things. It’s really fun to be part of a winning team. We are here to help you. If you want support with any of these ideas, let us know. Contact your project manager or any one of your Jambalaya Group team members. We are here to make successful financial planning firms to be equally successful businesses.
Now you know the rules, let’s play to win!
Jambalaya Group © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Bernie DeLaRosa, CFP®, ChFC® CRPC®, CLU®, APMA®, CASL®, BFA™
Managing Business Consultant
- Mergers/Acquisitions/Practice Sales
- Legal Agreement Definition
- Advisor Leadership Skills
- Initial Practice Assessment