There might be truth in them (annoyingly), but when you’re considering making a big business-changing decision, you don’t need encouragement from a cushion. Far better to hear it from a person who’s been there, done that and got the motivational-quote t-shirt.
I see change happen every day. Small but mighty change, like using digital signatures instead of wet ones (honestly, game-changer) and the more revolutionary ‘why-didn’t-we-do-this-sooner?’ kind of change like moving to a new practice management system.
My job is to guide financial advice businesses through it. Advice businesses that have a Teflon-like resistance to change, that stick to their way of doing things but that, at the same time, are worried they’re lagging behind everyone else.
I’ve seen business owners go from being fearful about technology to fearless.
When you’ve done it for as long as I have, you get to know what works and what doesn’t.
I’m going to share those tips with you.
But first, let’s take a look at why on earth you’d want to change systems in the first place.
The technology that runs an adviser business is much like the electrical wiring in a house. It’s just there running in the background, as it should be. It becomes front of mind only when problems occur, and you get warning signs, like a fuse tripping or a pop-up message telling you “something went wrong”. Those warning signs (just like software update reminders) shouldn’t be ignored. A ‘tripped fuse’ in an advice business could manifest as a less than optimal customer experience, not to mention being a potential compliance risk.
Is your system creaking under the strain of all the stuff you’ve been plugging in over the years? If so, it may be time to consider getting your house in order with a technology rewiring.
Of course, there might be other reasons for changing systems:
Once you’ve recognised the need that something has to change, what then?
You're going to need a plan to ensure your business adopts the new system easily and effectively. Taking your time to do this properly will pay dividends. If you’re moving to a different practice management system with us, we will help you all the way, as any respectable technology partner should.
You’ve had a demo, you’ve seen the features and are excited about what the new software will bring to your business. Make sure your coworkers know it too. Big up the benefits. Paint a picture. What will things look like when you’re using the software to its full potential? How will it make their jobs easier? What will things look like if you stay the way you are? Use case studies like this one to help.
Everyone will go through a change curve. Understanding it will help you mitigate its impact and speed up the change process. Nominate some change champions who are fully on board and can talk to peers about why the change is in their best interest and help them through it. These could be key influencers in your business. You could even hit up a partner from another firm that has undergone a similar change.
Involve your team throughout the process. Communicate. Invite them to key meetings, share information, and lure them along to any new software demonstrations or training with the promise of biscuits. Delegating specific tasks or challenges can also be effective i.e. “can you find us a way to manage onboarding new clients faster across the firm?”
It goes without saying that you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of the new system and lessen any niggles or frustrations as people start using it. Everyone learns in a different way so offer training in a variety of ways and let your team choose the method they like best. You should expect your software provider to provide online training, help guides, email and phone support as back-up. Some might also offer an online user community (like we do). Make sure all that support is accessible when you go live, to make that first experience a positive one.
After you’ve been using the software for a few weeks, keep up the comms by providing regular reports to your team on the difference it's making to your business. Has it improved efficiency in any areas? Has it reduced workload? Has it resulted in a better customer experience or increased sales? Some businesses have even introduced incentive programs for their teams to ensure the software gets used to its fullest potential.
If you've moved to online financial advice software, you can expect your software to be regularly updated by the provider to fix any bugs and issues (no more overnight or manual updates - hooray!). You’ll also benefit from ongoing developments and improvements based on feedback from fellow users. By regularly reviewing your practice management system and how you use it, your software provider will be able to introduce you to further products, features and functionality to complement and integrate with your new system, saving you additional time and money. So it’s worth continuing to review your business’ needs and ensuring you’re using the latest available solutions to perform at your best.
Change can be daunting, but a necessity to keep up and grow. Every day our team help advice businesses like yours put the best software in place for a better way of working. They can do the same for you. Start things off by getting in touch for a chat.