Updated Friday, July 25, 2014 as of 4:36 PM ET
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Addition by Subtraction to Grow Your Practice
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It is hard (and artificial) to decide to change something significant based simply on a calendar change and to make it stick. There are lots of articles out there about how to make a resolution effective and many proposing that they are a waste of time. Most discuss something you want or need to do. I want to suggest that one of the most valuable resolutions can be deciding what you should stop doing.

We can all do something better, something new, something different, something more. One reason we have difficulty following through is that we are all pretty booked up. Forget the discipline it takes to start or change a habit – which is usually enough of an obstacle to defeat our efforts– we also have to tackle the issue of when we will do it. 

I can tell you from my own experience and from coaching advisors there are also plenty of things you do that do not contribute to your success, your business, or your clients’ well being. It may be small things that add up to big time wasters. How many times a day do you check email? Do you have meetings because it is the most effective way of making progress on something or resolving an issue, or because you always have a meeting on Monday morning? One of the advantages of a resolution to stop is that you do not have to remember to do something. Once the meetings are no longer on your calendar, you probably won’t show up for them by mistake.

Some things you stop can be big money savers. I remember one advisor who surveyed his clients about how much they valued the various events he organized during the year. Clients let him know that they loved and learned from the educational sessions, and that the social or “appreciation” events did not mean much to them. This will not be true for all advisors, but this particular one saved $30,000 a year by eliminating them.

If my experience with client advisory boards is at all instructive, you probably do some things that mean a lot to clients and are integral to why they value you, and you do things that clients don’t particularly care about. Maybe it is your newsletter. Maybe it is half the pages in your financial plans. Maybe it is the phone call on their birthday.

Cutting out whatever does you no good and that clients do not value saves resources. It may save money, maybe a lot. More significant is the time it can save you. If you are going to do new things or more things of value, you need to find the opportunity to do them. And a resolution to stop something helps you create that space.

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Just as significant, if you want to increase the value of your practice to your best clients and drive loyalty, then systematically do more of the things clients value most and drop what means little to them. Concentrate the experience for them. Dropping the least valuable things first gives you the breathing room to find the resources to implement your next positive change.

What is the best thing you can stop doing? What will it mean to you or to your business when you no longer do it?

READ MORE: How to Delegate Responsibility

 

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