Despite the most recent 2017 Census data revealing a slight decrease in the average working hours per week for Australians (from 35.1 to 34.6), more than a quarter of workers now work an ‘extreme working week’ in excess of 41 hours. And while technology has been a blessing in terms of time saving it has also introduced swathes of new responsibilities (particularly if you run your own small business). With the internet at your fingertips, you can always be improving your public profile: managing Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, making and disseminating content that your clients value, and the less said about SEO’s the better.
So now that we are starting 2018 with a clean slate – or so we tell ourselves – it’s important to take a step back and re-evaluate which things do deserve that extra time and attention and which things could afford to be taken off your plate. Here are just a few ways to buy yourself a little extra time.
- Client data-gathering with robo-advice
Despite early fears it may have the industry-devouring potential of an Uber or AirBnB, robo-advice has rapidly become one of the adviser’s best tools for gathering client data. By incorporating robo-advice in your practice website, you are providing a low-pressure environment for potential clients (the 80 per cent of Australians who don’t have a financial planner) to whet their appetite for more meaningful advice down the track. People who, if it weren’t for technological gateways like robo-advice, might never have come into your orbit.
The key to integrating robo technology into your practice is to choose an adviser-friendly service that segues nicely into your first session. If your robo is offering active solutions, it could represent barrier to your principal value-add: advice.
With this in mind, it might be worthwhile engaging a platform that can be catered to your desired outcomes.
- Internal processes
One of the biggest time sappers for the adviser is re-keying data across a suite of applications that want nothing to do with each other. Fortunately, there are now plenty of outcomes on the market to help streamline your processes and house your software under the same roof.
The key to free communication between your applications is ensuring they are ERP or business system agnostic. That is to say, can your application interact with data from other software? Alternatively, does your CRM offer the full hub-and-spoke package with an in-built suite of extra tools to go with it? Keep in mind, if your CRM has limited functionality or a small pool of partner applications, this can lead to a lot of logistical headaches later down the track.
Some things to look out for when building your network of software and applications is the ease of data migration – how quick and painless it is to move existing information into the new platform – and the diversity of features or compatibility with third party offerings. Similarly, features like account aggregation, which draws client data from multiple account sources (i.e. bank accounts, policies), can eliminate a lot of double handling in terms of intel gathering.
- Marketing and client comms
We tend to talk a lot about the time-saving advantages of white label content marketing, but there are plenty of other ways to minimise the time you devote to this very necessary part of your business. Chief among these is automation, and by scheduling all your communications ahead of time you can sit back, relax, and watch your pre-conceived plan spring to action while you focus on providing the best advice for your clients.
While eDM’s are easier to manage in terms of your workflow, it’s our social media pages where it all seems to come undone. We may plan to maintain a consistent flow of engaging posts for clients on Facebook, but we are often left with business pages that look inactive or underdeveloped.
Fortunately, there are great scheduling apps for your socials like Hootsuite and Buffer, which allow you to plan all your posts ahead of time. Plus, we are also excited to announce that we are developing new scheduling functionality for Advant Plus in 2018. Stay tuned for updates on that in the coming months.
Whether you want to free yourself up to see more clients, to see your family more, or to see more of the back nine, there are plenty of technologies to help you save time for the more important things. But remember, changing software can not only be a costly exercise but a labour-intensive one, so make sure you do your research before making the commitment. And, if it’s an option, try before you buy.