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2019 Business Planning: Go!

Last week we looked at setting your quantitative goals and developing your strategies for meeting them in 2019. Now let’s talk about how to get started on implementation.

By now you should have a list of your specific strategies for 3 key areas – client experience, support structure, and growth. Putting together a simple spreadsheet will enable you to sort your list and track your progress. We suggest including columns for Priority, Strategy Description (abbreviate as needed), Start Date and Status/Next Steps. You can also add a column if you want to designate specific people in your practice as “owners” of one or more of your strategies.

Let’s begin by establishing your priorities based on the impact you expect each strategy will have on your ability to accomplish the goals you have set.

We recommend a simple A-B-C approach to setting priorities. Rather than just going through the items on your list one-by-one and selecting A, B or C, decide first which ones will be your top priorities – the ones that you believe are essential to meeting your goals. In our experience, it’s better to keep your A’s to no more than 25% of the total.

Now take a few minutes to review all of your A strategies.  Are you comfortable that all of them are truly top-priority items? Great.

Next go back over your list, this time deciding which are your C priorities, and then review this list. While each is something you want to do this year, your C’s will have less impact on accomplishing your quantitative goals. It is likely that 25-30% of your strategies will fall into this category.

By process of elimination, the rest of your strategies fall into the B priority category, so mark them as B’s.

If you are using a spreadsheet, sort your strategies by priority. By grouping your A’s, B’s and C’s together, you can make sure that they all fit in their respective priority. If so, great! If not, make whatever adjustments are needed.

Now determine which ones you want to start implementing sooner rather than later, and which will take multiple steps to complete. You may want to get started with some because they are very important to your success next year or others because they are quick and easy to accomplish.

Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to work on all of them at once, add Start Dates and Status/Next Steps for each item on your spreadsheet.

Accountability is an important factor in making sure your strategies are accomplished. We recommend setting aside time once per month during your team meeting to review your list. Ask the owner of each strategy to provide a progress report that includes the current status of the item and what are the next steps.

At the end of each quarter, review and discuss where you are versus your quantitative goals for the year. Analyze what kind of impact your strategies are having and how that impact is reflected in your results. Are there any adjustments needed in your strategies to yield better results? Documenting your monthly and quarterly progress will also help you refine your business planning process for next year.

Too many advisors and planners ignore the advice they give their clients. Make this the year you put together a strong business plan and stick to it.

If you need help putting your plan together, consider signing up for a membership in our Pathfinder Advisor Resource Center. There we have all the resources and tools you need to build and implement a strong business plan for 2019. Click here for more information. Or, if you prefer to get some one-on-one help in putting together your plan, send an email to

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