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What's the bright idea?

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In the Chinese calendar, 2012 is the year of the dragon. The dragon symbol of 2012 is an intelligent and laborious worker who never puts work aside although sometimes this leads to excess. The water dragon has enough courage to face challenges and easily finds the weak points that will stand in the way of his success. This is, I think, a fitting metaphor as we work through the challenges of the transition to RDR.

I am not unduly influenced by Chinese astrology but I am influenced by a desire to see as many businesses as possible fit for purpose and operating effectively in the post-RDR landscape. After working with hundreds of advisers over the last few years, I am convinced that to achieve this we have to make 2012 the year of ideas.

If you have a great idea, did you act on it? Did you make it real? Or did you put it to the back of your mind and carried on as normal dealing with day-to-day events? In the meantime, that great idea erodes and evaporates into the ether. For some reason, when I ask an audience of advisers who has a written action plan, not many hands are raised. When I delve deeper, I find all the usual myths associated with planning:

  • All business plans are in business speak
  • They must be long to be good
  • Their primary purpose is to obtain finance
  • It’s easier for others to do business plans
  • You should do it all yourself
  • It takes six months, a significant amount of time and expensive consultants
  • It sits in a drawer
  • My business is too small, business plans are for big businesses.
  • I know where I am, I know where I am taking my business I do not need a written business plan.
  • Someone else will do it
  • An effective action plan can:
  • Harness your great ideas
  • Build the business you want
  • Achieve your goals
  • Maximise the profitability of your business
  • Ensure your business transitions into RDR

There are many sources of help now available to help every business do this. One of these is our free business transition proposition zone. Here you can find help and support for:

  • A segmentation model that identifies the profit potential in your business
  • A clear client proposition that delivers excellent ongoing service for your clients
  • Robust processes that deliver this service in a profitable manner
  • Clear understanding of the most appropriate remuneration options for the client and your business
  • A simple, clear, concise and transparent RDR action plan.

If you have not already done so, make sure 2012 is your year for great ideas and a written action plan and visit

John Joe McGinley, Business consultancy manager, Aegon

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