Rod_BertinoOne of the real advantages of an extended Christmas break is being able to catch up on our favourite TV shows; and for me, this means re-runs of MythBusters.

Watching Adam and Jamie use proven science and definite facts to pull apart popular folklore got us thinking about the widespread marketplace misconceptions in our profession.

With apologies to the real MythBusters team, here are the lab results from the Business Health “stress testing” of the most common myths regularly espoused by the principals of Australian advisory practices.

1. Yes, but my business is different

An oldie but a goodie – and no doubt, many principals believe this to be fact. However, while it is true to say each practice is unique, the fundamentals of strong business management are equally applicable to all models.

We strongly agree that templated, one-sizefits- all solutions are not the answer. But we can all learn from other successful business owners (regardless of their particular industry); and most of the so-called “secrets” underpinning sustainable results are easily identifiable and directly transferrable into our operations.

2. Yes, but no-one can do it as well as me

While technically this may well be true today, it is perhaps a smoke screen hiding a deeper issue. Advisers deliver the greatest return when they are either speaking with clients, or with someone who can refer clients to them.

If they are spending time on tasks that do not directly result in one of these two outcomes, they should at least ask themselves why. If it is a resourcing issue, start to define the type of people you need to bring into the practice and begin the search immediately.

If you already have the right people in your team, ensure they have access to the appropriate training and tools they need to excel in their role. Your role is to empower good people, provide strong leadership and direction, and then keep out of the way!

3. Yes, but I’m too busy

Aren’t we all! Everyone has access to 24 hours each day. Decide how many of these you want to invest working both on and in your business and then prioritise and delegate so that each hour you spend is truly productive and you are not simply busy being busy.

4. Yes, but all my clients deserve my very best service

While all your clients deserve to be treated fairly and every client deserves to be treated with respect, not all of your clients deserve to be treated equally. Your very best clients must continually receive your very best service – after all, they are probably paying for it!

As an aside, in our experience, it is rare to see Australian advisers delivering “C” class service to “A” class clients. However, it is not that uncommon to see the reverse. No one should receive bad service, but everyone should receive appropriate service.

Unless you are consciously providing a “pro-bono” facility, practices need to build differentiated service offers that can be delivered profitably to each category.

5. Yes, but I am not planning on selling my practice

This myth is usually trotted out to justify putting off developing a succession plan. There are only two ways an owner can exit their business – vertically or horizontally!

Unless you have an ironclad guarantee that you are never going to die, get ill or maybe want to do something different, you owe it to your family, your clients and yourself to prepare your practice for all scenarios. Ironically, this is the exact advice most planners give to their clients.

So why not afford your own business the same security? Don’t become the plumber with leaking taps. And finally, while it was proven that by using the equivalent of 100,000 antacid tablets, a prison cell door could be buckled, the prisoner would most likely suffocate or be crushed by the pressure, so this is yet another myth to be declared BUSTED!

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