Own Your Mornings!

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

I had written a post on 26th January headlined “Energy Management or Time Management”. In case you missed it then, I would certainly encourage you to read it; even if you did read it then, a quick read again would be useful to reinforce the message. Today’s post is linked to the Energy Management post in a certain way, and you will see this as we progress through this post. I have never understood one thing in our industry/profession ever and I hope to explore it with you today.

The thing I have observed is that irrespective of the size of the firm, and nature of work, “distributors and advisors are always busy till 3:30-4 pm.Any important training/coaching that has to be done with them mostly needs to be done after 4 pm. The only exceptions being the 2–3-day events/conferences. Otherwise during the day, they are busy. The morning part is the most important part of your day. Anything that is truly important and that will improve the overall business must be done in the morning. This is because you are sharp, energetic and at your best in the first half. In the US, most of the training programs or important Zoom Calls are done in the morning half starting at 11 am Eastern Time (8 am Pacific Time). The US has 4 time zones, and this allows everyone including those in California to participate in a meaningful way by starting at 8 am.

Before I proceed, I must add that I am writing the following paragraph (I could have deleted it) because I care for you. My aim is not to criticize anyone or you, but to simply help you see reality and become the best version of yourself. Thus, I must be direct and not sugar coat things. I will consider myself successful in this endeavour if a few of you get the point I am trying to make.

When anyone tells me, they are busy or they do not have the time to do something, I ask her/him this question “How many real (client and prospect) meetings did you do?” Most of the time, the answer is not a very high number. I then ask her/him “How much business did you do this month?” Generally, I get vague answers like “I did fine, or business is good.” By the way, I did not ask about the mark to market appreciation or switches from old schemes to NFOs. I asked how many new ideal clients and assets you added in this month. The ones who want to improve admit “I did practically nothing”. Some say, “I did something, but I know there is a lot more that I could have done.

I have seen the biggest firms operating at 1/4th to 1/50th of their potential. A big firm that could have added Rs.16-20 Crore of new business per month is adding Rs.2-3 Crore per month of new business. A Sole Proprietorship firm that could have added Rs.3-4 Crore a month was doing Rs. 25-40 Lakh of new business per month. All of them are equally busy all the time till 4 in the evening. How can this be possible? There is some issue here that needs to be fixed.

The reality of our business is simple. Most prospects and clients are generally busy the first half of the day. This is the time that you must invest wisely. You must invest this time in the most important thing that is going to take your business forward. Yes, there are applications to be submitted, transactions to be done and all of it. I understand this and thus it’s important to have a process, and a dedicated team to take care of this. Without this, you have no leverage and being a financial professional, you understand the power of leverage more than anyone else.

The areas to invest this time are:

  1. Training/Learning for you and your team
  2. Accountability Coach for you and your team
  3. Prospecting (I had mentioned in a previous post the importance of doing this everyday)

I have a Nano coming for you on the 3 times that you must have on your Calendar soon, so I will not digress here.

Coming back to the above areas, points 1 and 2 will likely take up your time in the morning once or twice a week. Point 3 is mostly a daily activity. Starting early helps and even if for some reason you can’t, you can start at 9:30 or 10 am. I find it hard to believe that any of us cannot invest 2 hours from 10 am – 12 pm once or twice a week (weekdays) to do what is truly important for the future of the business.

Each one of us has that time and that time has allowed me to continue to be the best version of myself. I invest this time judiciously (not perfectly all the time because there are many things not in our control and might require our attention sometimes) and know that you can too. I know many of you do but there is always scope for getting better.

The biggest issue is that most people do not like to admit they have a problem to solve. Every business, even a giant such as Microsoft, has a burning problem to solve; so, I am sure we all have problems that need to be solved. First step is to acknowledge the problem. Second is to understand the cost of this problem or how expensive this problem is for us.

The third step is to commit time and money to solving the problem. Wishing the problem would go away will not help.

A simple exercise for you to do in Excel (You can even do this on a piece of paper).

  • Divide your entire day into 1-hour slots starting from 9 am or whenever you start.
  • Decide on a Few Categories such as Client Meeting, Prospecting, Team Meeting, AMC Sessions, Research, Training/Learning and so on.
  • Record which category you actually spent time in.
  • Write what you intend to get accomplished this week (do this one today).
  • Write down what you accomplished (do this on Saturday).

Do this exercise for the next 3 days and submit your responses to us if you would like our feedback on it or you can review it yourself. There is immense value in doing this exercise, so just do it.

A quote I read somewhere “Lack of courage sabotages more people than lack of ability. Don’t beat yourself before you start.

Own your mornings and you will change your firm’s future.

I would love to hear from you.