The New Year gives everyone a chance to reflect on this past year. As you do, you may possibly give thanks for continued prosperity, and make plans to enter 2019 with a new resolve.
Because it’s true: nothing happens unless we make it so.
What do you want?
Have you decided to allocate adequate funds for marketing in next year’s budget? Have you decided on a specific direction for your practice? What do you want to accomplish for your clients? If you have decided to sell more product than last year, how much more, and do you have a defined plan to go forward? Is such a plan in writing? Do you know how much you earned in 2018? Are you satisfied with the production? If not, why?
Look, whatever circumstances you have been hiding behind up until now need to be discarded. It may be time for a serious inventory of your motivations, your current status, your habits, and even your direction.
Are you proud of what you do for a living? If not, either declare the reasons to be proud of your work or change direction completely.
Here are some other questions to consider as you look to the New Year:
• What will your production be in 2019?
• Are you satisfied with your work ethic?
• Is your spouse satisfied with your work ethic?
• Can it be improved?
• How much improvement can be made?
• Is your quality of life what it should be?
• Does it need an upgrade or a renewal?
• Are you or your spouse driving a 16-year-old car because “it’s paid for,” and you‘re proud of it! Would a new Lexus or Mercedes be more appropriate or comfortable?
• Does the old homestead need new furniture, or maybe you need a new homestead?
• Is it time to go after that dream home?
• Have you succumbed to the negativity of the debates or political candidate campaigns or worrying over the economy or any other crutch that may be holding you back?
Be honest with yourself
When creating your New Year priorities checklist, it is imperative that you are honest with yourself. You must decide on the parts of your practice that are satisfying to you.
Does what you do truly serve your clients and do you enjoy your practice as it is? Be careful to begin this process now, instead of procrastinating. If you just stop and plan only and don’t begin your new year now, you may hit a wall when it comes to executing your plan. Lost momentum, however small and slow, is hard to regain.
Resolutions Don’t Work
Resolutions don’t work. Think about the thousands of people who sign up every year with a local health club, resolving to go a minimum of three times a week for the year to finally get in shape. The owners and managers of those clubs love this time of year because they know that by February, most of those people will have stopped coming on a regular basis, but they’ll have to continue to pay on their contracts until year’s end.
Difference is in the details
As you’re reading this, financial and insurance professionals everywhere are making 2019 New Year’s resolutions to make more calls, or to make and keep more appointments — to make more sales. But by the end of January, those resolutions will most likely have been forgotten as well, and these professionals will be back to the habits of 2018.
This year, create a real, detailed, working business plan. The difference is in the details.
Resolutions fail because they are the expression of a wish — something you want to try to accomplish. They don’t include details, planning, an analysis of where you are and what needs to change, smaller process goals and periodic milestones. These are things that go into a business plan.
If you want to move from the incremental growth of 2018 (if you had any growth) to exponential growth in 2019, a resolution won’t cut it — but a written, detailed, working business plan will give you a fighting chance.
I’m not talking here about the kind of business plan that someone prepares for investors. I’m talking about something that will make 2019 your best year ever.
Here’s what you need to do to create a business plan:
1. Determine what your mission for the year will be. What’s your ultimate goal? How many new applications do you want to open? How much more do you want to add to assets under management? How much more money do you want to earn? How many people do you want to help so that they can retire comfortably when they’re ready? What’s your “burning desire” — as Napoleon Hill called it — for 2019?
2. Identify your sales and personal goals. What are the smaller goals that fit into that mission? Do you need to get healthier to improve your available energy to meet the mission? What sales goals will be key performance indicators?
3. Analyze what’s working for you, what isn’t. In the business world, this is called the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. What are you good at that you can leverage, and what opportunities are out there that you can take advantage of? What will hold you back — internally, and in the world around you? You’ll need to address all of these.
4. Choose the client you will build your plan around. Your ideal, target client should be clearly defined before designing your plan around this prototype.
5. List and schedule the activities that will get you there. Starting with the end in mind, figure out what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to accomplish your mission by the end of the year.
6. Set milestones. Where should you be at the end of every month? Know where you are now and adjust what you need to adjust to get where you’re trying to go at each checkpoint.
7. Have someone other than you hold you accountable to stick to the plan. Most advisors — most people — aren’t sufficiently disciplined to hold themselves accountable. Give someone a copy of your plan and report your progress to him or her, both when you’re on track, and when you’re not.
“Resolutions Don’t Work. Create a Business Plan Instead”, by Sandy Schussel , December 30, 2016, PropertyCasualty360.com
“Start Your New Year’s Business Plan Now”, by Kim Magdalein, December 9, 2016, PropertyCasualty360.com