Late last year I wrote a popular list of 58 technology tools for financial advisors. It was shared over a hundred times on various social networks becoming our most visited post last year.
However, a great tool is merely the beginning. How do you use these tools to grow your business? A business coach once wrote that the key to growing your business is to make it irresistible to your market and make sure they know about it. Below I share 5 technology tools we use that help us achieve that goal.
1. Business Metrics Dashboard [Purpose: Are we building something irresistible?]
The most important tool we use is our internally created business metrics dashboard, which includes numbers and written notes. This helps us know whether we are creating something irresistible to our market. Here are the main elements.
Active Customers – How many of our customers have recently logged in and used the product.
Monthly Recurring Revenue – How much revenue are we generating on a monthly basis.
Churn – Have we lost any customers and why did they leave?
CLTV – What is the average value of a customer? This is determined by the average price someone pays for Pocket Risk and how long they remain with us (on average).
Cost To Acquire A Customer – How much are we spending on marketing (including marketing salaries) to acquire a customer?
Cashflow/Free Cashflow – Measuring the cash that is coming in and out of the business.
I review these metrics every Monday morning. Given the array of systems most businesses use it can be tricky to track all of these metrics easily but it is essential to measuring the health of the business.
I recommend every business owner have a similar dashboard. You can use Excel, Google Docs or create an internal webpage. Just remember that traditional accounting metrics do not provide good leading indicators on the health of your business. If you can’t get all of these metrics into a dashboard then at least get four or five. Whatever you do, don’t limit yourself to tools you can buy. Build your own tools.
2. ROI Calculator [Purpose: Are building something that’s irresistible and profitable?]
Once again, I built my own tool (with Excel) that measures the ROI on any major expenses. For example, if we spend x on marketing I know I need to acquire y customers for it to be profitable. Or if I ask one of our employees to spend 10 hours on a project, I know that that we need z number of new customers, retained customers or future saved working hours for it to be worthwhile.
Now it’s not always possible to predict the ROI of your investments but we make sure every major dollar spent or hour consumed has an expected ROI. This way we can measure if it is has been successful. Having this calculator limits us from making emotional decisions or succumbing to psychological biases that lead to unprofitable outcomes.
When we build new features or embark on projects at Pocket Risk we always ask whether this will make our product irresistible to customers at a profitable return. That return may take months or years but it has to be thought out. Having the calculator ensures we have the same internal yardstick for success.
3. Google Docs [Purpose: Helps us build something irresistible quicker]
As an international company with team members in London and San Francisco efficient internal communication is essential to our business. We use Google Docs to share things like marketing plans and training documents.
At first I thought everyone would be using tools like Google Docs to share information until I visited a financial planning firm and realized people still send Excel files back and forth unnecessarily. If you have a file called “Report Update v3 Final – David edit.xls” then you could probably benefit from using Google Docs. It’s a simple way to ensure your team is on the same page.
4. Screenflow [Purpose: Helps us build something irresistible quicker]
Have you ever found yourself writing a long email trying to explain something to a colleague, client or contact? Thankfully those days are in the past. I use Screenflow (Mac based) but you can also use Screencast to record your screen and voice for sharing with a simple link. This has dramatically reduced our frustration and increased our efficiency. Some things are difficult to explain in text and you can’t always get someone on the phone.
5. Google Analytics [Purpose: Measures the efficacy of our marketing]
Every business should be measuring the number of qualified leads they are creating and the conversion from first contact to happy customer/client. Pocket Risk is a web-based business so we use tools like Google Analytics to measure web traffic.
A financial advisor’s business would probably have to track this in Excel or with a CRM system like Salesforce or Redtail. However if you use your website to capture leads (which you should), you can also benefit from Google Analytics. Michael Kitces has a recent post about this on his blog describing how financial advisors can get the most out of Google Analytics.
What you will notice, from the list above is that we don’t hesitate to create our own tools that do a better job than what we can buy. We just have to ensure the creation of our own tools (and ongoing maintenance) justify the investment.
Additionally you will see every tool has a purpose and is a part of our mission to create something irresistible to our customers.
BONUS – Excel Shortcuts [Purpose: Helps us build something irresistible quicker] – Take a look at the link below to see how you can work a lot faster with Excel. Just imagine your life without copy and paste? Now imagine what other shortcuts you could be missing out on – https://exceljet.net/keyboard-shortcuts
Image credit – gamesined.wikispaces.com