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2020 was a year for hard truths. 2020 stress-tested our processes and taught us that we need to be resilient.

And while none of us can predict what this year will bring, we learned one clear lesson: We need to be proactive. We have to prepare for change to develop flexible and powerful processes that ensure we can optimise our business under all conditions.

Does that sound fuzzy and abstract? It shouldn’t be abstract at all for an IFA. In fact, it’s what we do every day – on behalf of our clients.

We have to prepare for change to develop flexible and powerful processes that ensure we can optimise our business under all conditions.

Be a financial advisor to your own business

As IFAs we consider our clients holistically. We assess their immediate needs and then we consider the journeys their lives might take. We think about what they’ll need at each stage of life, and provide them with resources to prepare for the unexpected.

We don’t wait for some misfortune to occur and say, ‘oh well, pity you didn’t have the right cover’.

So why don’t we apply the same proactive approach to our own businesses? Shouldn’t we be equipping ourselves with the resources to quickly adapt to an uncertain and changing world?

The good news is that enhanced tools and resources are now widely available and easy to use. Using the latest generation of cloud-based solutions, you can ditch the clumsy spreadsheets and paper-based processes. Instead you can create a robust, flexible digital framework that makes your business more resilient.

But you need to find solutions that work for your business.

Use a CRM, it’s easier than you think

A business grows or it stagnates. Managing leads effectively is key to building a resilient and thriving business.

Don’t wait for leads to get missed or clients to be overlooked. An effective CRM will make it much easier to keep track of new leads and stay on top of your existing clients.

After all, being a successful IFA is all about managing your clients as individuals. A good CRM helps you do precisely that, ensuring you have an effective workflow in place to help you nurture new leads and give existing clients the time and resources they need.

Best of all, a well-designed CRM interface is so much simpler to use than an old-fashioned spreadsheet.

Even if you have made the switch to a modern, cloud-based CRM, you still have to ensure that your data flows seamlessly between all your supporting systems, preferably via automated integrations. This will eliminate inefficiencies like double-capturing of data and allow your systems to provide optimal business benefit.

Turn your raw data into actionable insight

Here’s where things get really interesting.

You already work with a lot of data. But there’s a good chance that you analyse your data in a fairly haphazard way. That’s inevitable when you use older technology. It’s hard to see useful patterns in a spreadsheet of clients and products and partners.

But what if you could instantaneously see where your business’s greatest strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lay?

Commspace designed cloud-based revenue analytics software to help IFAs do precisely that. The easy-to-use dashboards instantly segments your revenue data into insights that can help you make better business decisions.

If your revenue is highly concentrated in older clients, your book may not be as resilient as you assume. Or perhaps you get a large proportion of your revenue from a handful of clients. In that case, you may choose to go on a client-acquisition drive to ensure the long-term sustainability of your business.

Revenue analytics help you make informed decisions about how to prioritise your time and resources.

At the same time, competitor analysis helps you understand how your business is faring compared to industry averages. You immediately can see where you need to work harder to stay competitive.

The rights tools for the job

Let’s all be happy 2020 is behind us. But let’s also not pretend it’s all back to business as usual.

We all need to be proactive and ensure we have the resources to adapt to change and make informed decisions.

That doesn’t mean adopting new technology just for its own sake. Extraneous technology might even add complexity, rather than simplify your existing processes.

It’s about thinking carefully about what tools and systems your business needs to stay ahead of whatever 2021 throws at us. And then using those tools to thrive.