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The write stuff

I was privileged enough to be asked to speak at a conference last week where the audience was 150 financial advisers. Over two days, there were excellent presentations on such diverse topics as segmentation, your customer value offering and how you cost your RDR proposition.

My presentation was on creating your vision and being clear about where you want your business to be.

At the end of the first day of the conference, we had a question and answer session. One adviser quite rightly pointed out that they had a lot to absorb in one day and he asked for our best business planning tip to keep the momentum going.

Some answers were: be clear about your proposition, ensure you have a robust segmentation process and know your hourly rate. My answer was quite simply, no matter what you do, ensure you write it down.

If you have been reading my column over the last few months you will know I am not a fan of traditional business plans – the large academic tomes with two main uses, a prop for a shaky desk and no use at all.

These tend to take months of activity to produce, cause untold stress to the originators and then, after an initial week or two of impetus, spend the rest of their short life trapped and forgotten in a desk drawer.

I prefer action planning. This is where you think about and identify your future destination and vision. Your action plan is really the how, where, when and with whom you are going to succeed. It’s where you write down your thoughts.

The average human brain produces about 70,000 thoughts a day. We even process thoughts in our sleep. This means we have a different thought every 1.2 seconds.

Think back over the last few months. How often have you thought about your business? Your future proposition, the clients that you will deal with, the fee proposition you will implement and even the exams you will have to sit.

How many times did you think of an idea you wanted to work on? Did you write it down and start your action plan?

If you didn’t, do you even remember those great ideas or are they lost forever?

When you write something down, it becomes real. You can begin to see what success could look like and address any weaknesses or barriers that may be in your way.

Put simply, writing your thoughts down into an action plan gives you a satnav to reach your desired destination.

To help you on the road to successful action planning, we have just produced a new zone on our website called “How to”. It looks at where you are, where you could go and what you need to do to get there. Interactive presentations make it easy to start writing down any ideas you may have. This is available on my website at www.aegonse .co.uk/businessbrain.

John Joe McGinley
Business consultancy manager
Aegon

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