The main objective of strategic planning in your firm is to create an uncomplicated plan that clearly defines the direction of your practice. A business plan embodies your set of business goals and how they can be attained. Overall, a business plan supports the business model and explains the steps to achieve the goals of that model. You will want to be as specific and detailed as possible in each area of your business plan.
The goal of your business plan should be to create a roadmap for the success of your firm.
Ironstone’s research has shown us that approximately 40% of financial advisors actually have a written Business Plan and even fewer have a marketing plan. Those firms that implemented a completed business plan have 50% more profits and revenue than firms without a plan.
Your business plan will help you:
• Evaluate your firm and your position relative to your competition
• Provide a laser like focus to your marketing efforts
• Support your infrastructure to provide for the needs of your firm
• Diagram a route for your success
Focus Areas To Include In Your Business Plan:
• An executive summary – Include your unique value proposition, how you will obtain new business, client retention practices, and your competitive advantages.
• Practice Overview – This snapshot of your practice includes how it’s organized, its essential purpose, and other formalities such as founding date, legal licensing, location, etc…
• Situation Analysis – Interpret the state of the environment & describe your competitive position along with the operating & financial conditions of your firm. Use a SWOT analysis in order to define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
• Market Summary – Describe your niche markets.
• Market Analysis – Stay abreast of new market strategies and understand the needs of your community. Research current trends and potential growth in your demographic area and industry to explain how you will improve your position in the market. Include statistical information showing your current position in the market share.
• Market Needs/Service Offerings – describe what your firm provides to clients & prospects. Items to include are pricing, how you will meet the needs of your clients, advertising and client service.
• Competition – Analyze your competition & how your processes outweigh your competition. Explain where you want to be in relation to your competition and how you plan to reach that goal
• Keys To Success – Identify three or four areas that you will focus on for optimal success.
• Critical Issues – Identify three or four goals or issues that your firm plans to achieve during the year. Develop a strategic plan of how you will obtain each objective
• Marketing Strategy – Attach a copy of your marketing plan.
• Marketing Objectives – List the objectives of your marketing plan.
• Financial Objectives – List the financial objectives of your firm and include your sales and expense forecasts along with checkpoints that will gauge performance levels.
• Exit Strategy – Outline your succession plan – timeline, person(s) to retain your practice.
Once you’ve developed your business plan, don’t file it away until the end of the year when you’re making the appointment to see your CPA. Use your business plan as a GPS guidance system for running your practice. Update it often; real-time changes are ideal, quarterly at a minimum. Communicate your business plan to your team in order to effectively bring it to life and track milestones to enhance your overall business focus.
As you begin to develop or review your business plan, contact Ironstone for tips and best practices that will assist you in taking your firm to the next level. We have numerous tools and aides available for you and insight that will help you reach the goals you have set for yourself and your firm.
Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element
You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Business Development – Referral Networks
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