Practice pointers for planners

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The most productive advisers focus on core business and are able to benefit from outsourcing some of their operations. Simon Harris, head of Guardian Advice, explains:

One of the big issues advisers talk to me about is how to become a more productive adviser and run a more efficient business.

Advisers are increasingly seeking new ways to ensure they have enough time for client engagement, while still meeting all of the advice requirements that the FOFA legislation requires.

Practice principals in particular face the tough juggling act of heading up their own business, combined with the pressures of also wearing the hat of director of sales, marketing, HR, operations and accounting.

However, the ability to be the Jack of all trades while servicing your existing business, and attracting new business, is not viable in the long run.

FOFA’s start date of 1 July, 2013 is only two weeks away, so this is an opportune time for principals to review their strategy to raise their business efficiency.

Outsourcing can free business-owners to make the customer the focus of their work, which therefore increases the effectiveness and sustainability of their practice.

But before outsourcing anything, advisers need to gauge whether an external professional can do the job better, faster or more cheaply than in-house staff. The sensible approach is to retain control of your primary functions which define your core business or your differentiator, then consider outsourcing operations that are not strategic to you.

So where does it make sense for advisers to outsource?

Back office support:

To ensure advisers spend more time with their clients, principals need to consider outsourcing non-core functions to agencies who deliver specialised services in their field that an advice business cannot handle themselves, such as: website development, digital media production, additional support from a para-planning or SOA services team, outsourcing to a technical services team, or research team for products and strategic asset allocation.

Technology:

A key business enabler which facilitates more robust compliance is technology automation to improve advice processes, and also social media technologies. However, technology presents a quagmire of headaches in managing that infrastructure reliably 24/7, so to drive more efficiencies into your business, look at using experts who can, for example, can take care of your software implementation and customisation needs, and also manage your social media channels which support your marketing communication strategy.

Shared services such as reception (leased concierge services or virtual phone answering services), shared office space and printing services can be shared with other businesses to help you achieve scale benefits and also lower your overheads.

This is just a handful of ideas on how outsourcing can help you tap into more economical pricing and a better quality end result from a service provider.

I’d love to hear from you about the challenges and questions you have about running your business better. Please contact me by email at: sharris@guardianadvice.com.au.

This article originally appeared on No More Practice.

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