Most professionals understand and appreciate the importance of planning. Unfortunately, however, for many planning consists of little more than reviewing their results from the previous year, and projecting forward for the next 12 months.
Top-performing firms and professionals do more. They constantly adapt their services, promotion, selling, and practices, to meet the needs of their targeted markets. They understand that for consistent growth, change is inevitable. Some changes occur organically; others are the result of creative effort.
What’s Your Growth Story?
From my experience, I know that most plans fail due to poor implementation, rather than poor development. A major cause is a lack of understanding of the current state of play; this results in developing plans that are based simply on the previous results, and producing the wrong plan at the wrong time and place.
The best way to go is to find your growth story, or growth position, and use it as the foundation for developing your growth plans.
The growth position table below provides an easy way to analyse your growth story:
Category 1: Vertical growth—Firms in this category enjoy consistent organic growth and have strong sales capabilities.
Category 2: Horizontal growth— Firms in this category are capable of producing above-average results, but organic growth is up and down. Sales capabilities are strong, but not applied on a consistent basis; this produces inconsistent organic growth.
Category 3: Flat growth—Firms in this category have a loyal and long-term client base, but due to their poor sales capabilities they are unable to maximise value; this results in a majority of ‘part-time’ clients, offering few prospects for the growth of new business. If this situation is allowed to continue, these businesses will quickly move into Category 4.
Category 4: Negative growth—Firms in this category have poor retention of existing clients, and are losing existing business at a faster rate than it can be replaced. Weak sales capabilities mean these firms will struggle to survive.
What’s your firm’s current story?
It is essential that you understanding the elements that drive your business. It’s the only way to create a thriving financial services firm, and to develop the right goals that will enable you to make a wise investment of your limited time and resources into the areas that will provide the highest payoff.