In the second part of a series, John Joe McGinley outlines the key steps to how advisers can develop a vision for their business.
We operate in a world of constant change. This brings many things, but paramount is stress.
This is usually caused because businesses are time poor. And most are time poor because they don't have a clearly defined vision of what they want to achieve.
Vision is about having a clear direction for your business.
Vision isn't some motivational poster of a ship sailing into the sunset, or a climber celebrating their ascent. Vision for any business is about direction, and is the basis for measuring the progress of any action plan that's produced.
This means the business has a clear roadmap directed by them and not adversely impacted by the events that befall constantly in our ever-changing world.
The benefits to any business of having a clearly defined vision are:
• everyone understands where the business is going
• there's a driver for change - a plan
• you can see where you want to go and where you currently are
• it can be shared with staff, clients and alliances
• a good vision can attract clients, staff and alliances
Where do you start?
A great way to look at business vision is in chunks, and there are normally six key areas in three stages.
• Purpose - what does the business do and who does it do it for?
• Financials - what profit are we aiming to achieve?
o How many clients will we have?
o How big will we aim to grow?
o How many advisers do we need?
o What administration back up do we need to achieve this?
o What skills must they have?
o How do we manage this, for instance reporting lines?
• Marketing and services
o What will our service proposition look like
o How much will we charge?
o What will our business mix look like?
• IT and processes
o What back office system will we need?
o How will we use social media?
Other things to consider are premises and the end game - is it to grow or be bought? Don't forget this is vital in any vision!
A good framework is to take time to sit back and get the key people involved in your business and life (including partners and friends) to answer the following questions:
• What is it that you actually do? The best answer I've heard is 'I make peoples financial problems go away'
• What do you offer clients? (Please don't think product)
• What would you like to be known for?
• What are the key roles that are needed for the vision?
• Who will you work with in the future?
• Where will you work in the future (markets/client types)?
• What technology will you need?
Now take these answers and write a short statement that describes what you want your business to be and achieve.
This is the starting point of your vision and from this the next stage is to write down all the actions you'll need to take to make this vision a reality. This becomes your action plan.
A good vision statement can help any business start to see where they're going a little more clearly.
Remember that if we continue to do what we've always done, then one thing is certain: change won't happen in our business. If we want change then we have to act.
I'll leave you with a man who puts it in words more powerful than mine:
‘To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favourable wind.' (Seneca)
I wish you all favourable winds. Next we will look at the power of segmentation.
John Joe McGinley is head of Glassagh Consulting