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Many financial professionals have uttered the phrase “I need to make time to work ON my business … not just IN it.” Working on your business instead of being consumed by daily responsibilities is critical to achieving sustainable success, but it’s much easier said than done.

In my own financial planning business, I’d become frustrated because I knew what I needed to do to improve my business but never had the time! I’d always try to carve out an hour or two to work on strategic planning, innovation, and business growth, but the time was overtaken by never-ending to-dos. I’d reschedule the time, but it would get eaten up again by pressing issues and deadlines. Fed up with my lack of progress, I scheduled my first “CEO Day.”

I took time out of my office to step out of my role as a financial professional and into my role as visionary, leader, and CEO of my planning practice. This quarterly routine was one of the key habits that ultimately allowed me to triple my revenue per hour, become a 100% referral-only planning practice, and whittle my work schedule down to three days a week.

Finally, I felt the sweet relief of running my business instead of it running me. I even was able to take a month off each summer to travel and disconnect from my business. Let’s discuss how you can use this approach also.


What we’ll cover:

  1. Why a CEO Day is crucial to your business’s success
  2. How to do a CEO Day
  3. Set actionable priorities


First, Why A CEO Day Is Crucial to Your Business’s Success

A day out of the office, away from the daily grind, can help us to accomplish the critical items that CEOs do:

  • Dreaming Up Possibilities: This mental “white space” helps us refine our vision for the business, dream up new ideas, and think about strategy with a clear direction in mind.
  • Innovation: We can evaluate ideas we’ve collected from conferences, industry meetings, and colleagues. We can determine whether these solutions would serve our vision for the business or if they’re just shiny objects that sound good but won’t truly move the needle.
  • Enhanced Decision Making: Analyzing data uninterrupted empowers us to see the big picture and evaluate scenarios more objectively, leading to more effective decision-making processes.

For example, you can look at your marketing funnel and review each layer. How many invitations did you send for your last workshop? How many RSVP’d? How many people attended? How many attendees booked an appointment? How many of them had a second appointment?

Analyzing this data to figure out how where a process excels and identify any gaps. If you had lots of prospects attend a workshop but they didn’t book a meeting, instead of scrapping the whole event, you can strategically address the gaps. You can look at your presentation or your call to action and make tweaks, instead of just saying the workshop “didn’t work.”

Personal Growth and Well-being: A CEO Day is not only beneficial for the organization but also for our personal growth and well-being. Taking time to recharge, reflect, and prioritize self-care allows us to lead with renewed energy and resilience.



Second, How to Do a CEO Day

I recommend taking a day out of the office quarterly. Going off-site allows us to truly disconnect from office distractions and focus on the five main areas a financial professional CEO needs to address annually.

  1. Financials: This includes analyzing profit and loss statements, income streams, expenses, revenue per hour, marketing ROIs, and understanding the overall finances of the business.
  2. People: Evaluate your org charts, role descriptions, delegation, professional development of team members, salaries, benefits, and look at the overall culture and the experience of being an employee within our business.
  3. Processes: Look at all the existing business processes. Are they still effective, in alignment with your practice’s brand, and exceeding client expectations? Or do they need to be updated or adjusted?
  4. Problem-Solving: What problems have been raised by team members, clients, or that you’ve identified? Think creatively about solutions.
  5. Client Experience: The client experience is one of the top priorities for a financial professional. Are there ways you can enhance your client service models, meeting structures, follow-up, or onboarding to improve their experience during the next 12 months?

Each quarter you can focus on just a few items from each of these five key areas of your business. They’re not meant to be tackled all in one shot.


Third, Set Actionable Priorities

At the end of a CEO Day, establish clear priorities and action plans. Schedule time with your team within a week of your CEO Day to communicate your strategic vision and priorities. Break down larger goals into manageable tasks and assign responsibilities to appropriate team members. Develop a timeline and ensure accountability for execution.

I suggest selecting no more than three major goals to work on each quarter. By focusing on just three, you can avoid getting distracted by too many ideas and directions that dilute your efforts. This narrow focus allows you and your team to implement 12 specific goals during the year.


“Taking a Day Out of the Office Won’t Make a Difference”

I often hear financial professionals say that taking this time out of the office each quarter will put them behind on their to-do list and only create more stress. I’ve found that financial professionals who’ve adopted a consistent CEO Day routine have become significantly more productive, and the ROI on this time spent on the business is invaluable. CEO Days give you the time and space to create an elevated experience for your clients, develop a more organized business, and implement processes to work smarter and faster.

Another common concern I hear from financial professionals is not knowing exactly what to do on these CEO Days; some even think they should hire a consultant to do this work. Don’t overthink it. You must be actively involved and engaged in this process. It’s your business, so you need to determine how to run it, the experience you want for your clients, and the lifestyle you want for you and your family. I recommend you start by trying to answer a handful of simple questions:

  1. Where could my team and I use better processes?
  2. What mistakes do we make, and how could we prevent them in the future?
  3. What can we do to really wow our clients in the next year?
  4. How do I make my business a great place to work?
  5. What do I wish I could do for my clients, myself, and my team that I don’t currently do? What would it take to make that happen?


To Summarize

First, without a CEO Day, it can be challenging to find time to work on your business. Second, focus on five main areas: financials, people, processes, problem-solving, and client experience. Third, after the CEO Day, select no more than three major goals to work on each quarter and involve your team.


CEO Days Helped Me Build a Business and Life That I Love

Years ago, when I ran my practice as a solo financial professional, I pondered how I was feeling about my business. At the time, I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked. I suggest that you ask yourself this question before beginning your CEO Day: How do you feel about your business? If you have some of the same feelings I did, a CEO Day is a must. It changed the way I felt about my business, and it can for you too.


Next Steps

  1. Schedule time on your calendar each quarter for an offsite CEO Day
  2. Determine what you want to accomplish during that time
  3. Identify no more than three goals to execute each quarter
  4. Engage your team and enlist them to help you get laser-focused on the things that will have the most impact
  5. Remember, running a business should be fun―most of the time. A CEO Day is a great way to get re-energized and focus your energy on building a business and a life that you love.

About The Author
Julie L. Genjac

Do you ever wish you knew a fianncial professoinal who built a 7-figure practice--while only working 3 days a week--that was willing to share her systems, processes, and business hacks with you? Meet the Efficient Advisor Podcast host Libby Greiwe. Her specialty? Breaking down the functions of a financial planning practice into actionable step-by-step processes designed to get you results and get you out of overwhelm. She ran her own planning business for 16 years culminating in a sale & retirement in 2019. Now, she’s simply just obsessed with helping other amazing financial professionals do the same thing.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author, who is not affiliated with Hartford Funds. 3092497

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