Summer months usually provide an opportunity to relax and recharge from the first part of the year. The events of the first half of 2020 came at advisors like a tsunami and left most practices frantically redirecting their sails and learning new ways of conducting business and life in general. Although things are not yet back to, “business as usual”, taking time to unwind from those hectic months is important to your physical, emotional, and mental health.
This is also a good time to sit down and reflect on what you would like to see happen in 2021. It sounds far away, but think about it, five months go by fast. Planning for success is a key component to achieving your goals and maximizing your growth potential. Here are three planning activities that top advisors are committing to this time of year.
1. Develop your foundational marketing and service activities calendar for 2021.
Like all members of our coaching program, you should have the next six months of activity already planned. While there may be some necessary changes to it due to Covid-19, the foundational activities should still apply now and for 2021. When selecting these core activities for your plan, at a minimum you should include:
- Pre-planned client meetings;
- Quarterly economic update reports;
- Meaningful and timely monthly articles;
- Client educational events (virtual or in-person);
- Client appreciation events (in person, hopefully!);
- Growth initiative activities.
A foundational annual activity calendar is essential for all top practices. It includes the two crucial elements of a comprehensive calendar of meaningful activity: client service-oriented elements and prospecting/marketing elements.
2. Start systemizing your office now to be more scalable.
Everything in your office should be systematized to maximize efficiency. Setting up Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all tasks helps eliminate lag time, questions on what and how to do a task, and inconsistencies or mistakes.
Use this valuable summertime to develop procedures so that when you move into busier seasons you are able to focus on your number one objective: meeting with clients and prospects!
3. Determine what additional improvements you would like to make for both personal and professional growth.
Each summer, we help our coaching members determine how they are going to grow professionally and personally during the next year. Sadly, many advisors save this idea for their “New Year’s Resolutions.” Unfortunately, by that time, it is too late to properly plan and fully implement their goals. Also, many advisors get sold “fool’s gold” ideas that take time and produce NO results. Building a top practice requires the right direction, not a sales pitch. Waiting until year-end or the holiday season is not the best strategy for introspective thoughts. During that time of year, most practices and advisors are very busy and could also be preoccupied with personal priorities. That can lead to impulsive or bad decisions. The more leisurely summer months are better suited for dedicated time to strategize.
For example, let’s say you want to commit to a more disciplined exercise program. Now is the time to think about building a schedule that allows you the time to follow that commitment.
Another example is you may want to sign up for a tax planning course. Now is the time to schedule that into your calendar so you and your office are aware of your commitment and reservation of time to achieve this goal.
By committing now, you give yourself the time to both mentally and physically adjust your calendar. That will make you more likely to stay committed to accomplishing your goals and not letting them go by the wayside.
Remember, procrastination is a killer of progress!
I recently talked with an advisor who is thinking about joining the other 300+ practices in our Academy. He realized the value but regrettably said, “have someone call me at the end of December”. This thought process is probably why, unlike our members, he is not having his best year. Make your summertime productive by taking stock of what you have accomplished in the first half of the year and determine what you want to accomplish in the following 12 months. While you have the time, take the opportunity to create your plan of action to make the next 12-18 months strong, active, and fruitful for your practice and yourself.