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Tom Hegarty: Why advisers should consider getting extra support in their business

With delegation the key to business success, many advisers should consider getting extra support

The most common challenge advisers face when it comes to running their business is making the time to do so as effectively as possible.

Many want more profitable and productive firms but know that further developments are often required to maximise efficiencies.

Since the implementation of the RDR, reports have highlighted how the average proportion of advising staff to non-advising staff within firms has been reducing.

Perhaps this is due to the volume of work required by firms to meet regulatory demands and the like. But it could also be that advisers are beginning to work smarter and invest in the support needed to free up more of their time to develop their business.

The majority of advisers would admit that delegating is not their forte. They would also admit they take on far more administrative work than they should. But such highly skilled professionals should spend their time on what adds the most value to their business.

There are various options advisers can take to give them more support.

Outsourcing

For those who have been used to working alone, it may be too much of a jump to take on a full-time member of staff straightaway. Why not consider outsourcing work to an individual or company providing support services?

Outsourcing work can be done on a case-by-case or hourly basis, or to a specific budget, and the costs associated are not as high as one might assume. Besides, the benefits of delegating administrative work should well outweigh the costs involved.

Outsourcing work does not usually require an adviser to provide much training. Individuals and organisations offering this type of work will already be trained to a certain level and may even provide the adviser with ideas of how they could do things differently.

Of course, the adviser can request work is done in a certain way if necessary, but the more bespoke the requirements are, the longer it may take to build the relationships needed.

Once outsourcing is being utilised to a high degree, it may reach a tipping point where actually recruiting someone into the business would be a better option.

Recruiting

For small firms, recruiting someone new is a major commitment, so the decision should not be taken lightly. This is not just a commitment in monetary terms but also with the training and development required to nurture the individual to manage the work to the desired standard.

It is about finding the right balance. Firms could choose to recruit someone with very little experience or expertise, which would prove more cost-effective, but would consume more time and energy in upskilling.

Alternatively, they may choose someone who has the skill and experience for the role, which would demand a higher remuneration package, but could reduce the amount of training and development required.

Most important is making sure the person is the right fit for the business.

Taking on a new recruit is an investment and should feel like a partnership. Paying someone appropriately and treating them well should result in stronger commitment for the longer term.

There should also be no hesitation in developing someone to improve in their role. This often does not happen because the employer is worried the employee may leave the business with more skills and experience. But, as Richard Branson once said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough that they don’t want to.”

Advisers need to be taking a good look at their businesses and be honest about the amount of work they are doing that they should not be. Look at options of outsourcing or recruiting someone to deal with the administrative burden.

Yes, investment in cost and time is required, but the benefits should outweigh these inputs by maximising profitability and business efficiency.

Tom Hegarty is managing director at New Model Business Academy

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