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High priorities

Focus on your high-payoff activities and delegate everything else

Afew weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a networking event and my first thought was, what are they asking me for, do they think I am some salesmen flogging insurance door to door? I am a professional adviser, I put together and manage sophisticated strategies – I do not sell.

Then I got off my high horse and slapped myself a few times and reminded myself that if we do not sell ourselves, we do not eat and, as businesses, if we do not sell, we do not trade.

I do not mean selling in the crude sense but in the marketing proposition sense.

Assuming that we are each fantastic performers within our own chosen field and we have established that sales (making ourselves visible) is the most important aspect of what we do, why don’t we do it?

Many people concentrate on the technical aspects of their job without shouting from the rooftops what they do and how good they are at. They do not appreciate what are the highpayoff activities, or HPA, because they are too busy working. So, what can you do about it? Here are a few things that have helped me to concentrate on my HPA.

First, identify your own HPA. For me this is quite simply client time and ensuring that everything I do is client centric.

Then, start with the end in mind. When I first established my business, I took some time out to visualise the perfect business and my lifestyle within it. From day one, I acted like my business had already achieved my visions and created the infrastructure that would allow the business to grow into.

This largely focused on an operations manual which details everything from locking up at night through to invest-ment management and philosophy. Having systems and processes in place allows you to grow your business within a controlled and safe environment and have the confidence to delegate more and more jobs from your desk without fear of mistakes being made. This allows you to concentrate on your HPA.

Once you have identified your own HPA – delegate everything else. The time you spend on your HPA will be far more profitable than the time spent doing other things. This could mean outsourcing to professionals your management accounts, payroll, VAT return, HR, marketing and recruiting members of staff who will do the administration or even the technical aspects of your role.

Create a business structure that will foster organisation, where tasks can be performed consistently well by others, whether this is paid employees, or paid contractors, freeing you to do what you do best.

Nicholas Platt is director of Henwood Court Financial Planning

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