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Take a fine vintage view

I recently made what some people have described as a rather foolish purchase. They might be right. Sitting on my driveway is a 1975 MGB GT, minus an engine and with enough rust to warrant extensive body repairs before it can ever be driven again.

As someone with no mechanical experience, it is going to be a challenge to get this vehicle back on the road. Before I can even think about getting the engine back in, I will need to cut out and weld in several body panels and respray the car. Assuming it runs when it is put back together, it will then need a completely new interior along with the associated wiring to make it come back to life.

Even for an experienced car restorer, I suspect this project would represent something quite daunting. Yet as I sit here writing this, I am confident that within a reasonably short space of time I will be driving around in a fully restored British sports car.

My confidence comes from having two things – a clear vision and a detailed plan.

I can close my eyes and picture the finished result. On my desk now sits an Arch lever file with a section for each main stage of the restoration process along with lists of the specific steps I will need to follow.

I can also have confidence in this project because I will not have to do it all by myself. As a restoration project, I will be able to pick and choose the tasks I feel capable of doing and the jobs that I need to outsource to a relevant expert.

My rusty classic car is a lot like many IFA businesses today.

Although rust might not be visible in your business, there is a good chance that you will need to chop out, replace or upgrade many elements of what you are over the next year or two. Knowing the scale of the challenge you face might be daunting, but it is made less scary by having a clear vision for the finished business and a precise action plan for getting there.

There is lots of support available to make the necessary transition. In the same way that I might not be particularly competent with a welding torch, you should not be expected to be an expert on business change when your core competence is the provision of financial advice to clients.

Big projects are usually daunting at outset but that only means that they are worth pursuing. If the changes required were not big and scary, they might be consid- ered to be less worthy.

Of course, continuing my analogy with the classic car which now adorns my driveway, there are bound to be IFA business owners who choose instead to scrap what they have and simply buy a newer model. You still need to check under the hood of your new(er) business but there is no harm incorporating the qualities of the old vintage style with the dynamism of the newer model.

Martin Bamford is managing director of Informed Choice

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