Monday, October 20, 2008

5 Tips for Weathering the Economic Storm

Challenging times present great opportunities to engage your clients and to re-focus your energies on your business development. Let's face it, when things are good, we are moving along and tend to not focus on improvements - it's human nature. So, many of the opportunities that are presented during difficult times, include the factors that you can control. You cannot control the stock market and the economy, but you can control your mindset, your communication with your clients, improvements to your service offering, a tune-up of your business plan, and positioning for for eventual recovery. Those are the topics dicussed below and the focus of this week's newlsetter.

1. Protect Yourself Against Getting Caught Up

The advisory business is like a game of golf - 90% of the game is played in the 5 1/2 inches between your ears. How you choose to remain focused and unaffected by the volatile economic events will directly impact your success. One of the easiest things to do is get 'caught up' in the turmoil. As one consultant put it, don't 'catch your client's cold' - which is fear, doubt, and worry about the future. You cannot control those fears and you cannot control the economy, but what you can do is keep your focus. This is critical to you weathering the storm.

2. Increase Your Communications with Your Customers

Although you cannot control 'outside' events, you can control the amount of communication that you have with your clients. Your clients look to their advisors for guidance through these storms. And, they are looking for the confidence that they have momentarily lost. Talk to your clients. Silence can be a great enemy in this environment. In my experience as a wealth manager, the single greatest thing that held my business together and allowed it to expand quickly was constant, pro-active communication with my clients. Try this out, I heard of it many years ago, it is the 12-4-2 program - your A clients get 12 calls per year, 4 quaterly updates, and 2 face-to-face meetings. That simple system - and the fact that your clients can rely upon that level of contact - allows you to structure your 'client fulfillment system' and begin to organize your business around making more profits, instead of reacting to client concerns. Of course, during times of crisis increased levels of communication help. However, it is the consistent communication that keeps the client comfortable in your relationship.

3. Add More Value to Your Customer for the Same Price

In tight times, you will want clients to know that you are doing more for them. Host a dinner. Make an extra call. Send a hand-written note. Or, perhaps join a program like Pinnacle's to offer advice to your business owner clients on how they can develop an exit strategy plan from their business. Increase your business during hard times so your clients can see the confidence that you have in the future and your ability to deliver better service and solutions to them on a consistent basis.

4. Work on Your Business Plan

Now that you've addressed the immediate issues of communicating with your clients and increasing the level and type of services that you will provide, go to work on your own business plan. We are in the 4th quarter of 2008 - time is flying by. We will wake up tomorrow and be celebrating the holidays. Where will your business be on Dec. 31st? Will you have hit your goals? Pull the business plan out of your draw and get back to work on improving your own business. Remember, even though we are advisors, we are also business owners. A business is built to make a profit. And profit comes from organized thought. Wipe the dust off your business plan and make improvements to it that will allow you to continue to bring in new clients so that you can . . .

5. Position Yourself for the Recovery

After the Wall Street meltdown came the greatest rally for the stock market, ever. Is that a sign of recovery? Well, I became quite a student of the markets and I like what one expert once said - that a man who has a heart attack does not get up and run a mile the next day. The markets have had a heart attack and yesterday's rally most likely does not mean that the trouble is behind us. No matter. The markets and the economy will recover - they always have and always will. They will be different than they were before, but such is life. Change is a part of life and we need to adapt to it. The winners in this meltdown will be those who address short-term needs of their clients and businesses, while also looking ahead to position themselves for the future.

How are your positioned for the recovery?

Do you know that there a millions of Baby Boomer business owners and trillions of dollars in illiquid wealth that will be transferring out of those businesses in the next 5 to 20 years as these Baby Boomer business owners look to retire.

Position yourself for the future. Learn a new skill set that will differentiate you from the competition.

Take a look at all of the levels that Pinnacle offers for you to participate in this huge exit strategy planning marketplace. We have advisors following the advice above and exploding their businesses forward. What is standing in the way of the success and profit that you want for your advisory business? Perhaps Pinnacle has an answer . . .

If you need any assistance at all, do not hesitate to contact our office at 617-367-5772 - we look forward to hearing from you.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide exit strategy planning services to business owners as well as education and training programs for professional advisors. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and his recently published book, "Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth", visit

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