6 Questions to Ask Yourself
The start of a new financial year is a brilliant time to reflect not only on the previous year’s performance but also on some fundamental things. I ask myself some questions every financial year and spend some time thinking about my responses. I am sure you will find it useful provided you take the time to respond to the questions and reflect on your responses.
Here are the 6 questions for you:
1. Why am I in this Business?
I am not talking about your vision and the heavy stuff but a simple articulation of why you really are in this business. I have heard different variations:
- I had nothing else to do.
- I came in to make money.
- I do this to help people invest smartly.
- I think I am very good at this/I enjoy the markets.
- I want to help people Live their Happiest Financial Life. I want to help make a happy difference in the lives of millions of people. The way to do that is to help thousands of distributors and advisors be the best at what they are (This one is mine).
2. Have I invested well in myself and my business?
Though we guide others how to invest, there is an urgent need for us to be better investors in our businesses and ourselves. I have seen very few advisors invest well in their own business. We don’t invest enough in people, processes, technology, marketing and our own learning.
Write down the investments you have actually made in yourself and your firm.
3. What do I need to do to maintain or enhance my competitive advantage?
A version of this is “How can I be better than my competition?” Yes, you need to define who your competition is and position yourself against this competition. Is your competition a Bank or a Larger Private Wealth Outfit? Is it other Distributors and Advisors in your location? (This is the subject of a column in itself so I will address this in a different post on Strategy and Competitive Advantage.)
4. Am I the best version of myself?
This is a very important question as it helps me reflect on areas that I need to learn and get good at (improve as a professional). Continuous Learning and challenging myself has been my Mantra. I challenged myself to take up the CFA exam (3 Levels) at the age of 40 and finished all 3 Levels by the time I was 42.5… I keep challenging myself as it helps not only me but also motivates my team to become lifelong learners.
5. What are the Risks that my business is facing today and What am I doing about it?
Some of the key risks that you face in the business are Regulation, Revenue Compression, Robo-Technology, Competition and Markets. Then there is a Black Swan event (unpredictable and unknowable) such as the Coronavirus one that has impacted world – wide economies and markets.
Ask yourself this critical question and think about the Future of your firm. Are you positioning your firm to merely survive or thrive?
Survive and Thrive are 2 different things and the approaches are radically different.
6. What kind of Team, Skillsets and Technology do I need to build the firm of the Future? Can I build it or Buy it or better yet Partner with someone?
Finally, spend some time thinking on this one.
Happy to help on any of these questions… Feel free to reach out in case you have any thoughts or questions.