By: Daniel C. Finley

Watching Where You Step

Success or failure is a choice; albeit a conscious or unconscious one, but a choice nonetheless. The ironic thing about success and failure in your business is that you are constantly stepping towards one or the other as change is constant.

Abraham Maslow, the renowned psychologist, echoed this belief when he said, You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.”

Watching which direction you step is to choose each step wisely. Choosing to step forward towards pursuing your goals could bring with it the fear of the unknown. Choosing to step backward towards complacency could bring with it the comfort of familiarity. But, you must ask yourself this, is it better to boldly succeed or is it better to safely fail?

Understanding Your Daily Direction

Most advisors start each day without any thought of what direction their business is going in. Granted, some may have, what I refer to as, pro-active activities which are scheduled such as prospecting appointments but the majority of advisors/agents spend their day on re-active activities which are those things that interrupt any scheduled ones, such as putting out client fires.

At the end of the day, many may feel like it was productive or unproductive based on their perception of the amount of pro-active or re-active tasks they have accomplished.

One example of this is an advisor who would be feeling accomplished because they opened a new account; thus, growing their business. On the other side, would be an agent who felt they were productive returning/taking calls, thus keeping clients satisfied.

The real question is which advisor/agent moved towards accomplishing their goals? Let’s explore the answer below by looking at three choices and how it may pertain to you and your business.

Choice #1: Stepping Backwards

Stepping backwards in your business is a slippery slope that seems to be paved with good intentions. While “putting out fires” is important, your client-base will never consistently grow unless you incorporate daily prospecting. An advisor/agent who only works with their current client-base is in fact taking a step backwards by doing so because over time the client-base decreases due to client attrition. The solution is to schedule time to prospect daily, so you can fill up the pipeline and grow your business!

Choice #2: Staying Stationary

Staying stationary in your business is a misnomer because a business is either growing or shrinking. However, many advisors/agents who are on a production plateau feel comfortable because their business is not trending downward. That is until they experience a bad market and quickly realize that their assets under management are spiraling south.  It is oftentimes at this crossroad where any unhappy clients leave as well.

Again, the solution here is to prospect daily. The reason why growing a client-base is more important than just the returns on investment growth is because the more qualified clients you have the less dependency you have on any one client.

Choice #3:  Stepping Forward

Stepping forward with your business takes dedication and discipline to integrate the activities that are needed to grow in addition to maintaining and servicing your existing client-base. It’s done by ensuring structure to the day and having a method to prioritize and/or delegate interruptions. In also requires that you work smarter by getting more effective at everything you do and not just by working harder by doing more of what you have been doing. Look for areas of your business that you believe need improvement and find ways to make those areas stronger.

Finding Your Path

Before we explored these three choices, I asked you the question earlier regarding which advisor took a step forward towards accomplishing their goals? The answer is…neither, because each advisor/agent focused on only one aspect of the business. To find your path to success you need to create a balance between all facets of running a business by evaluating and implementing best practices.

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