It can be challenging running a sole adviser practice.
Sole Practitioners are responsible for everything. Client advice and relationships and everything else like paying the staff, practice compliance and generally running the business. It is a difficult juggle particularly when you are in growth mode and building the client numbers.
This an example of the imperative to keep going with the key activities that build the business.
I was recently made aware of a Sole Practitioner who had been in business for 4 years. He has developed a relationship with an accounting firm over several years. The relationship has been quite successful and both parties have developed a mutual respect for each other. The Accountants are impressed by the financial planner’s expertise and technical knowledge. He has been referred quite a few clients of the firm and always delivered very sound, comprehensive advice.
The relationship worked well in the first two years with fortnightly visits by the financial planner.
However in the past eighteen months the financial planner’s visits dropped off and so did the referrals for new work.
Part of the reason was COVID related, however the financial planner was also focused on other things happening in his business.
- acquisition of a small number of clients
- building a new venture with another third party
- back office workload issues required the hiring of another support staff person
All of these business matters were important and consumed a lot of time from the financial planner.
The business financials were now becoming a concern by the end of 2020. Expenses had risen and profit had declined. No time had been allocated to the most productive referral relationship – the Accounting Firm.
A strategic planning session (to kick off the new year), with our business coach illustrated several issues. Amongst these were:
- Poor pipeline of new prospects
- Underperformance of new third party referral venture
A new plan of attack has been created with some clear KPI’s for the Practitioner to focus on.
Back to the Accounting Firm – fresh contact has begun and co incidentally the Accountants have asked for the fortnightly meetings to resume!