Better than “business as usual”

I’m not sure what I expected from the Covid-19 lockdown but signing up multiple new adviser partners was not top of my list, knowing all the challenges that everyone was facing, both professionally and personally. After nearly four months in a working-from-home environment, I have been pleasantly surprised by what the team has achieved.

During the period April to June, PortfolioMetrix welcomed six new firms into the fold. We were already in discussions with some of these firms before lockdown and it was a case of completing the process. However, we’ve never met some of these advisers in person, with the entire relationship being developed using virtual tools to make introductions, demonstrate our software and investment process, exchange information, carry out due diligence and get first cases flowing.

Does this make us unusual? Speaking with advisers, it seems most have been successful in maintaining existing client relationships using video calls but very few have secured any significant new business. Perhaps the B2B world is more accepting of using technology to capture new business, or maybe there’s more to it…

Time to work on the business, not in it

Perhaps our success in signing new partners is an indication that lockdown has given advisers time to work on their business strategy, rather than spending most of their time working on behalf of their clients.

This is a major benefit. Getting caught up in the day-to-day is easy to do but, as Charlie Reading, MD at Efficient Portfolio suggests in his book Entrepreneurial Happiness: How to Build an Abundant Business and a Fulfilling Life, business owners should spend (at least) one day per quarter working on their business, rather than working in it. In fact, he maintains that everyone on the team should spend an hour per month working on the business.

This approach is something I highlighted in a recent blog about Helm Godfrey’s Graham Cross. His ability to step back and focus on the strategic needs of the business is proving transformational for the firm.

With the UK moving back towards business as usual, I hope advisers continue to take time to think about the longer-term needs of their businesses. I’d actually go further and contend that we should be viewing this as a seminal moment for many advisers and their firms as they continue with the best practices that were enforced as a result of the lockdown. Of course, in normal times (if they do eventually return), we will always want to meet our business associates face-to-face, as nothing really beats human interaction.

In the meantime, what Covid-19 has taught us is that adapting to new circumstances makes us think – and act – differently. While this can be challenging, sometimes change makes us stronger and better able to face the future with renewed confidence.