Why you need better processes and how to make them

It’s still possible to meet your goals in 2023! Matthew Jarvis, CFP®, shares tips for creating processes to deliver massive value to your clients.

4.2 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

Half the year is gone; how close are you to reaching your goals?

July is the perfect time for you to have a midyear review of your practice processes. With a few months ahead, you have plenty of time for a course correction to crush your goals in 2023.

Too often, advisors get caught looking for a hack or a shortcut along the path to success. What these advisors are really missing is a solid work ethic. No hack will compensate for the fact that sometimes, you must roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

No one enjoys creating processes in their practice—which is why so many advisors are flying by the seats of their pants. However, you must have efficient processes if you want to double your success and rock what’s left in 2023.

Need more effective processes in your practice? Here are some tips to help you build processes to deliver even more value to your clients.

Creating processes

Too often, advisors sit around and dream that a process will magically appear in their office. If you find yourself saying, “Hey, we should have a process for this,” every time you sit down on a task, it’s time you create one.

Even if you have a team member who does a fantastic job of completing a task, you need to get the process for that task out of their heads and on paper so that your entire team has access to it.

Sit down with your team and have them record (on video) how they go through all of their processes. Have your team members share their stream of consciousness for how they make decisions and solve the process problem.

As an easy example, ask your team members to explain every step they go through to change a client address in a recorded Zoom meeting by themselves. This will improve your practice in several ways:

  • Having a written process will make it feel more formal.
  • Your team member will be forced to streamline things because they know someone is watching them.
  • You can review the process and find ways to improve efficiency by removing redundant steps.

Forcing mechanisms and eliminating steps

When you start dragging your feet about a change you know needs to happen, sometimes you have to create such a dramatic consequence through forcing mechanisms that you have to make the change.

Years ago, the industry standard was keeping paper files and copies of everything. We’d keep a physical copy of every application, every dictation, and every contract. When Micah Shilanski, CFP®, transitioned to a paperless practice, his team was dragging their feet. They didn’t want to do it, and the transition was put off.

Out of frustration, Micah went into the office over the weekend, scrapped all the paper files, and removed the copy machine so that all that was left was a printer and a scanner. When his team returned on Monday, they were shocked to find a paperless office.

While the transition was bumpy, sometimes you may have to be dramatic to force the changes your practice needs. Changing systems always sucks, and there will always be some hiccups, but if you drag out making drastic transitions, you’re just playing office.

If a system or process isn’t working for you, be intentional with your time. Start your overhaul where the system isn’t working, identify how you want it to work, and eliminate all other options. 

In Micah’s office, his team members couldn’t continue to use paper files when those paper files no longer existed.

Forcing this kind of personal and professional growth isn’t fun—it holds your toes to the flames—but you’ll feel so much more accomplished after completing that nagging task.

Implementing processes from other practices

When you talk to an advisor who’s levels ahead of you and crushing it, don’t be afraid to ask them to walk you through their processes in areas you lack. And if you ask another advisor to share their process with you, at least try it before you shoot it down.

Too often, advisors ask to hear about my process and instantly insist that it won’t work in their practice because it doesn’t apply to them completely. If you don’t have a process in place, don’t scrap the entire thing when you could tweak it for a better fit. Using 82% of a successful process is better than not having one. 

When you implement a new process, have your team run it as is three times, hit the pause button, and discuss it. Ask your team what worked, what didn’t, and where they think changes should be made, then course correct.

Every office will run a little differently, but the over-arching concept of a process will be universal—don’t be afraid to tweak the minor details to make it work for you.

We’re always looking for a magic wand to make our problems disappear. Stop looking for hacks and throwing money at marketers who claim they’ll solve your problems. What you really need to solve your problems is to model an already proven and successful process to run with—and don’t be afraid to make adjustments as you go.

Rip off and Deploy

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when creating processes and systems in your practice. Just rip off and deploy the practices Micah Shilanski, CFP®, and I use every day in our own practices through our coaching programs.

We’ve pulled back the curtains so that all of our BackStage Pass Members can copy our inner workings, and we’ll even help you implement any tweaks you may need. We even partner with our Invictus Members to provide the accountability you need to make those challenging changes doubling your success requires.

Action Items

● What lever can you pull weekly to get you dramatically closer to doubling your practice? Block out an hour each week to pick an item to eliminate, automate, or delegate, and ensure you have a forcing mechanism behind it.

● If you haven’t already, sign up for the Retirement Tax Services Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, this September. This is the summit to attend if you’re looking for tangible ways to up your tax game and deliver massive value through tax planning.

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