Happy new year. As with each January, we have a blank page on which to consider the excitement, opportunities, challenges and plans of the coming twelve months. When it comes to planning, the old adage is definitely true; nobody plans to fail, but many fail to plan.
As ever, for the coming year, thoughtful and achievable planning will be the key to your success in 2016. I have always found Warren Greshes’s ‘three S’s of success’ a great formula, and this applies as much to planning as to any other activity. See it – visualise what you want to have achieved by December 2016; start it – you have to make a start to begin to make it happen; sustain it – keep going forward throughout the year towards your goal.
It is always easier to be able to ‘see’ a plan clearly if your timeline, objectives and ultimate goals are broken down into manageable sections. Step one is to start with a visual representation of the twelve months of the year for a broad plan, setting out your goals for the year. Step two, block out your holidays and business events – such as attending MDRT Vancouver. Additionally, if you are undertaking any qualifications or training, set aside the time you will need to study, prepare and take any necessary examinations or coursework. Step three, this leaves you with your business year, so start visualising your ‘perfect’ week. Ideally, how much time will you spend with existing clients? Make a list of who you want to meet in each week of January. How much time will you spend with new or prospective clients and, crucially, when and who will make your appointments?
Then, as the saying goes, ‘just do it’.
Of course, any plan needs to have flexibility as external factors may influence your progress for good or ill. However, beginning with a robust and realistic plan will make all your goals much more achievable.
In 2016, the biggest sources of both opportunities and challenges will be the outcomes of the Financial Advice Market Review and the Pension Tax Relief review; both are expected in the 2016 Budget. Everyone expects higher rate tax relief to end, and it could be from Budget day. It is also anticipated that the FAMR in particular will have a huge impact on the financial services market as the government strives to make financial advice much more accessible to the less well-off consumers. Having a robust and comprehensive plan in place will ensure that in the coming year you turn potential challenges into opportunities for your business.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group