The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Success Systems For Your Firm

We are in our second cycle of blogging about Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, and sincerely hope that you are gaining additional guidance and support for implementing best practices in your firm.

Ironstone focuses on 4 key fundamentals that we refer to as the Fundamental 4.

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Each of the 4 key fundamentals have 8 sub-categories that you will use to begin creating your systems.  Visit our website to see each sub-category to start your system processes.  www.IronstoneHQ.com

In series one, “How To Increase Your Effectiveness,” https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/how-to-increase-your-effectiveness/   we reviewed how you can increase your effectiveness by using reports and tracking systems in your firm.  When you define your standard operating procedures and create multiple tracking and reporting systems the operational effectiveness of your firm is improved.

Clients and prospects come into direct contact with each of your systems.  To provide extraordinary service you must pave the path by implementing and updating each system.

How To Start

Start by developing the external and internal processes for each sub-category of the 4 key fundamentals.  Formally communicate these processes with clients and team members in order to achieve the mission and vision you have established for your firm.

 “Inch-By-Inch It’s A Cinch!”

For each process/system that you create, follow these steps:

Step 1:  Introduction

Your introduction should include the following components:

  • Title – name the process
  • Purpose – describe the intention/objective of the process
  • Scope – identify when and to whom the process applies
  • Roles – list the roles and functions of those involved in the process
  • References – include any reference documents that help form parts of this process.

Step 2:  Steps/Procedures

Begin writing a list of each step needed to perform the process.  Each set of procedures must be followed to accomplish a given task.

Step 3:  Mapping

Describe the event and the amount of time that is required for the process.  Describe the inputs, activities, sequences, and decision points within the process.  Use flowcharting to provide a visual aide to the process.  Within this step Ironstone has found that a checklist of each output will help to validate that the action is completed.

In the Mapping Step you should also include exit criteria.   Describe an output’s state (or condition) required before the process or procedure can be considered “complete”.

Step 4:  Metrics

For most processes that you create, you will want to ensure that the process is measured to determine its contribution to your firm.  Determine what key metrics you will monitor and compile data that will demonstrate the ROI from the process. Be sure to review any areas that should be improved.

Step 5:  Document Control

Create a chart that contains the history of any revisions made to your document.  In the chart, include the date, the revisions that were made with a brief description, and the person who made the revision.

Your systems and processes will provide consistency throughout your practice, and Ironstone can provide you with templates and checklists to help you get started as well as review your current processes to identify the gaps that are most commonly overlooked.  Contact us for assistance in creating proven and effective systems for 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:  The Human Element-Leadership


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Create Added Value In Your Investment Model

Designing a methodology for managing your client investments is essential for a clear representation of financial performance and aides in effective decision-making.  It is a generally accepted principle that a portfolio is designed according to the investor’s risk tolerance, time frame, and investment objectives.

Create Value Within Your Investment Model

“All good to great companies begin on the path to greatness

 by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality.”

Jim Collins, Good to Great

 Your goal is to create a weighted investment model (one or many) and implement a consistent investment strategy.  Focus on actions that will provide unique added value for your clients.  Position your firm to support the highest value-to-value exchange.

Evaluate your current investment model(s) with a focus on determining if they are creating added value.  Employing a one-to-many investment strategy creates the leverage necessary to optimize your resources and elevate your delivery of services to clients.

Consider the following services (not all inclusive) while evaluating your model(s) and how you will deliver added value for your clients with each service.

  • Risk Tolerance
  • Asset Allocation
  • Manager Research
  • Portfolio Monitoring
  • Rebalancing
  • Performance Reporting

While you are ultimately responsible for due diligence and oversight of your clients’ assets, you may want to consider outsourcing services that are invisible to your clients such as manager research, monitoring, portfolio construction, performance reporting and re-balancing to a third party who specializes in these services.  Other obvious outsourcing options or strategic alliances, such as CPAS, attorneys, and insurance agents will provide you the weight to focus on your firm’s unique added value and help clients with the steps they need to take.

Communication With Clients

Look at your value proposition through the eyes of your clients and prospects.  You must be able to answer the question, “Why should a client invest their money with you, versus allocating their funds in some other way?”

When implemented effectively, your investment model should be viewed by your clients as a proactive model with enhanced services and communication.  Implementation will require that you have direct systems and procedures in place to provide each service.

Advisors are required to make full and fair disclosures about fees.  Consider the appropriate fee level for your services and investment model.  You may want to implement a tiered fee structure that differentiates the service levels within your client segmentation process.

Your investment model(s) will allow you to sharpen your focus on the unique needs of each of your clients. Understanding that each of your clients has unique needs will ensure efficient client service delivery.

Ironstone can assist you in developing appropriate investment models and collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel to achieving the strategic goals of 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-Client Appreciation