We all have good ideas. The problem with most is that they take a long time to implement, so we lose interest long before we get the benefit. With that ugly truth in mind, here are five ideas which you could act on today (or tomorrow morning) that will immediately make your practice better.
1. Check the previous day’s activity.
Do this every morning. Make sure that you know what happened by looking at your trade blotter, your fund flows and your outstanding documents report. I don’t care where you work – there are reports that you or your team can use to get this done. Finding out next week that a trade didn’t clear, or a check wasn’t disbursed, is too late.
2. Call 5 clients every morning and another 5 every afternoon.
It could be a scheduled call or an impromptu one, but if you call 5 clients by noon and another 5 by closing time, good things will happen.
3. Make sure your client has the right option level.
I got in the business in 1996 and was told to not bother with options, no one was “doing them” anymore. Not true. If you have clients with option agreements, make sure that you know what level of approval they have, and exactly what that means at your firm.
4. Know which clients have POAs and which don’t.
Make a list, right now, from memory, of every client who has a POA and who that person is. Then check your account records to see if you are right or not. How did it go? Unauthorized trades and disbursements are preventable! Next, print up a list of all of your clients with POAs and review it. Then print up a list of clients over age 75 and ask yourself if some of them should have POAs in place. Another group for special focus: adult children of your long time clients.
5. Write down what happens.
Get a notebook and use it, or update your contact management software several times a day. You will clear up mysteries (and win arbitrations) with credible, contemporaneous notes. Without them, you will be relying on the same brain that lost a game of Go Fish to your grandson this weekend.
John Wayne reputedly said “Life’s tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.” That’s a simple lesson to learn, so are the five listed above.
Good luck to you and your team as your practice develops in 2022!