This month, I address the single biggest step you can make to increase your production. You may have heard it before, but I promise I'll shed some new light on it. At the end of the article, I will provide some high leverage ideas to increase your business.
I still meet professionals who are operating without a full-time assistant. That's simply insane. In most parts of the country, you can get a competent assistant for $35,000 annually. If that's all you want to earn, then just keep operating without an assistant and keep doing assistant's work. You'll never earn what you're really worth.
But the real value of having an assistant is not just the time it frees up for you to do the important things (like finding new clients, taking existing clients to lunch, calling existing clients and asking for a referral). Having an assistant will free up your mind. I'm convinced that the more tasks you juggle and the more items on your mental to-to list, the less room there will be for creative ideas with high leverage.
Remember the last time you went on vacation? Or the last time you had an extended plane flight? Or any time when you were away from the distractions of the office? Did you get any great ideas? I always get my best ideas when I'm not focused on doing the next thing. If you do not have an assistant, your existence is always about doing the next thing. You not only lose the time you need to do important things, you lose the important time to even think about what the important things should be. Without an assistant, your efforts are spent on being efficient (doing things right) rather than being effective (doing the right things).
So why do so many professionals in financial services still try and get by without an assistant or a part-time assistant rather than full time help? I assert that the answer is not about money. It's about fear. Professionals delay getting help because they wouldn't know what to do with the free time other than service customers, chase dividend checks, type letters and perform other office duties. They would suddenly be faced with the fearful situation of having free time and not knowing how to productively use it.
So let me give you some ideas. Hire an assistant and use your time for these high leverage activities:
Every Wednesday, take the name of a CPA from the local phone book. Call and introduce yourself. Tell them that you have clients looking for a quality CPA that can assist with tax matters. Invite them to lunch the following week so that you can meet and see if your clients might be suitable for the CPA. At the end of the year, you will have met 50 CPAs. Send these people a note after meeting and immediately put them on your monthly newsletter list. You will generate substantial referrals from this.
You can do the same as above with estate planning attorneys.
Do you call every client every 90 days? If not, you're missing business and you're missing referrals.
Have you asked every client what clubs, organizations and churches they belong to so that you can contact the program chairperson and give a talk?
If you make some time for creative thinking, you can generate dozens of ways to increase your practice. But first, you'll need to hire an assistant.