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Advisor Marketing Goals for 2010

To get anywhere in life you need to know where you want to get to, you need a road map to show you the path to take and then you need to do the most important thing: Take the first step!

In this short video Richard encourages you to create a one page business plan using Jim Horan’s book, The One Page Business Plan. This is the best “first step” you can take for a successful 2010. You can read my review of this outstanding book here.


Happy New Year!

Advisor Marketing with Christmas Cards

In this short video, Richard Emmons explains how sending holiday cards to your clients and prospects can keep your existing clients happy and help you stand out from your competitors. You’ll also learn what to do if you’ve run out of time and it’s too late to send out Christmas cards.


Autopilot Computer Backup

When I got my first laptop computer back in 1994, I’d didn’t get it without a fight. Not with my wife…my boss.

I’d previously convinced the president that the salesmen needed laptops. Now I wanted one. Joe was adamant that I didn’t need one and they cost way too much. So I kept pushing….

Joe relented only after I told him not to get me a laptop unless he wanted me to work on company business at home, on airplanes, and in hotel rooms. He said, “Okay, okay already. Now get out of my office!”

Advisor with laptop at beachMy productivity did soar as I could work wherever I happened to be. I was unchained from my desk. Finally. If I had to work a 12 hour day I could take several hours of work home with me.  Even to the beach.

Yet suddenly many documents and spreadsheets suddenly were unchained from the network. And the server’s automated backup.

I had to back up my laptop myself or risk losing precious data. And eating crow when explaining what happened to Joe. I couldn’t let that happen so I began a weekly practice of backing up my computer every Friday…and during the week if I completed a major project.

I’ve used everything to backup: floppy disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, thumb drives, external drives, and even backing up to the network drive.

My backup habit paid off a few weeks ago when my trusty Acer laptop choked on an automatic update from Microsoft. Seems my 4-year old laptop couldn’t handle Internet Explorer 8. Fortunately it happened on a Saturday and I had a fresh backup from Friday!

I now am loving my 6th laptop: a Macbook Pro which runs Windows XP whenever I need it.

Mac’s now include a backup program called Time Machine which automatically backs up to an external hard drive. I like this because I no longer need to remember my Friday afternoon ritual. It just happens.

Yet the possibility remains that my laptop and external hard drive could be stolen at the same time and I’d be one hurtin’ dude!

So I added an entirely new layer of backup protection: Online backup.

CarboniteI use a service called Carbonite which you can read about here. For about $50 a year my documents, pictures, and music files are automatically backed up into “the Cloud.”
It took about 2 weeks to slowly upload over 40 gigabytes of data. Now it’s done and it keeps me backed up automatically, all of the time. No matter where I am. If I am connected to the web any changed files get backed up just as soon as I close them.

Amazingly they place no limits on how much you can back up. And the price includes both personal and business files so I have everything covered.

I’ve tested the service by restoring some files. Very easy and quick.

If my laptop died, I would just buy a new laptop and install Carbonite. Then restore all my data to my new PC. My productivity would be impacted for a while but I’d be back in business in no time.

This is cheap insurance and I strongly recommend you add it to your onsite backup practices.

“The One Page Business Plan” for Financial Advisors

“The Cobbler’s son has no shoes.” ~anonymous

One_Page_Biz_PlanThis famous quote speaks about the successful Cobbler makes shoes for everyone in the village except his own children. Sound like anyone you know? Perhaps the CPA files hundreds of tax returns by April 15th but never his own. Or the Gardener who forgets to water his lawn in the middle of summer.

Many advisors prepare retirement plans, estate plans, and business succession plans for others yet never sit down and prepare a business plan for their own practice. Sound like you?

Business plans traditionally took many hours to prepare, filled thick binders with pages and pages of market data, product and service plans, and financial forecasts. A business plan’s chief purpose was to get a bank or investor financing and was soon forgotten. Especially after the five figure consulting fee was paid. Was it used to run the business? You must be joking!

No wonder few businesses, including planning practices, prepare a plan and execute it to reach financial and practice goals. The cost in time, trouble, and money just wasn’t worth the perceived benefit.

Jim Horan’s series of books entitled, The One Page Business Plan has changed this gloomy picture for over 250,000 businesses since 1994. Now you can create a one page business plan to help define your practice, set goals, and define activities to help you reach your goals. In 2008, he wrote a Financial Services Edition which makes your job even easier.

The book walks you through a series of thought-provoking self-assessments and fill-in-the-blank templates to help you do the following:

  1. Describe the vision for your practice in one compelling sentence.
  2. Define who you are in service of and what you will do for them in 8 words or less.
  3. Define success so that it is measurable, graphable and achievable.
  4. Develop a set of focused strategies that will guide the development of your practice over the next 3 to 5 years.
  5. Define and prioritize the critical practice building projects and programs that must be implemented to execute your strategies.

Does this sound like a lot of work? Well, the book provides lots of examples to borrow from and a proven methodology. You also get a CD with Excel and Word documents to help you through the process. All very helpful.

But can you really do this by yourself? Yes and no. You can certainly do it yourself and by yourself. You’ll be miles ahead of where you are now without any business plan at all.

I recommend working with trusted advisors such as your partners, business coach and even your spouse. These “extra eye balls” will help you see your firm where it really is today and keep you from setting unattainable goals.

The value of this book far surpasses it’s list price of $34.95. Or its discount price at Amazon.com of $25.21.

Have I used the book? Yes, I created a one-page business plan for my living trust seminar business. That’s how I discovered the book because I needed a business plan for an attorney and I needed it fast. I’ll use the non-profit edition to help craft a business plan for our local Gospel Rescue Mission on whose board I serve. Another situation where I can’t create a lot of extra work for the executive director.

I’ll help my marketing consulting clients create one page business plans for their practices before I touch their websites or fix their yellow page ads. Or do anything else.

You won’t go wrong with this book. Get it, read it, and put it to use!