Welcome to Viewpoint. Our aim is for this to be a really useful column for practising IFAs. Every other week the column will range over the many different aspects of being an IFA and running an IFA business and come up with some practical ideas. Quite a few of these might well betechnical – what used to be called ’sales ideas’, which we have now learnt to call ’advisory ideas’.
The chances are that none of the ideas will lead to a miraculous transformation of your business. But then miracles are pretty rare. As one of the speakers at the outstanding PFS conference, last month, said: getting a single 1,000% improvement as a result of just ONE change in a business is much harder than getting 1,000 improvements each worth 1%.
Continuous improvement is easy to say; and it is not hard to do, but it needs determination by everyone and an action plan is vital. That means everyone signing up to a written commitment to the aims of continuous improvement, but it also requires a methodology, a timetable and a good deal of enthusiasm from the one person who is given the job of driving the project – even when they don’t feel ery enthusiastic. So here’s an action list.
Commitment – Commit the team to coming up with at least one good practical improvement each week in any area of the business.
As one of the speakers at the outstanding PFS conference, last month, said: getting a single 1,000% improvement as a result of just ONE change in a business is much harder than getting 1,000 improvements each worth 1%.
Method – Make sure that everyone comes up with a suggestion for an improvement – however small – at the weekly meeting. The person with the most suggestions that are put into practice successfully should win a cash prize or a bonus such as a weekend away. The same goes for the person who comes up with the most valuable idea. A timetable – Give each idea a timeline. Some can be implemented quickly (always answer the phone within three rings), but some may take longer to put into action (set up flexitime so that the office is manned for longer and employees are happier). Also decide how often the bonuses are awarded.
An enthusiastic person to drive the project – Appoint a real enthusiast as the champion. And there’s nothing like linking their bonus to the effectiveness of the project. Of course, the decisions of management or an ideas committee will be final in deciding on the merits of ideas.
With nearly 27 months to RDR implementation, every advisory business needs to embed a culture of continuous improvement. This is a practical way to get there.
Danby Bloch is Editorial Director of Taxbriefs.
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