Benchmark Business Group

Systems Run Your Business; People Run Your Systems

April 4, 2023

Many of our financial services advisors are sales-oriented individuals at their core. They enjoy getting in front of their clients and understand that activity is vital to an agency’s survival. Most don’t enjoy the operations side of the business. They don’t want to be tied down to the day-to-day operations, because they know their time is best spent with clients.

The common answer is to hire a team to take care of the operations around them along with a large part of the service work. And while we agree that a strong and balanced team is a foundational piece of designing a high-performance agency, our experience teaches us that the team should be built around systems and not people. This can sound harsh at first, but it’s not discounting the value of a great team, instead it’s a different mindset about what makes a great team.

The problem with people is that we are all humans. We all make mistakes, even if we’re an expert in our field. Personal lives might at some point interfere with team dynamics. A team member might be dealing with a health crisis such as cancer which causes them to need to take a leave of absence. Another might be going through a divorce which could result in a change in their hours of availability. One just might be tired today and have trouble remembering every single step of a task they do daily. And one might wake up tomorrow and decide they want to move across the country.

There’s no end to the unique situations you will run into with your team, which means that at any time a member of your team could need to be absent. Therefore, it’s important for an agency to build systems that document the how and why tasks are done. Those systems never leave. Yes, they have to be updated over time and with necessary changes, but it’s an investment that once completed belongs to the business. That return on the investment doesn’t disappear and in fact, is reoccurring.

Systems also:

Create Consistency: When the same processes and procedures are followed every time, regardless of who is performing the task, the agency has consistency in service delivery and it builds trust and confidence with clients. Systems ensure that your agency is not dependent on any one person and that your clients will have the same great experience every time.

Increase Efficiency: In creating systems, it’s not unusual to find ways to eliminate unnecessary steps, automate processes, and streamline workflows. This can save time and reduce costs, allowing professionals to focus on higher-value activities. Systems also allow your agency to create onboarding training processes that save time and increase efficiency of training new team members.

Assist Risk Management: Systems are critical to managing compliance risks ensuring that regulations are followed, client data is protected and appropriate controls are in place.

Allow Scalability: Scalable systems allow professionals to manage a growing client base without sacrificing quality, consistency, or profitability. As your agency grows, your own capacity will shrink making it important to have others that can produce the same results as you. Systems not only allow you to train your team to think and act like you do, but also assist in monitoring the quality of your agency as it grows through the actions of your team.

Provide Business Continuity: In this industry you learn that with unexpected events, such as natural disasters, cyber attacks or pandemics, it’s not if they’ll happen but when. With systems in place, financial services professionals can continue to serve clients and manage risks even in challenging circumstances.

By investing in the right systems, financial services professionals can build a sustainable and successful business that is more able to navigate the risks and opportunities that come with running a business.

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