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Doubling the profitability of your advisory business


Doubling the profitability of your advisory business

Whether you’re an independent advisor or delivering advisory services in a professional services firm, everyone’s busy, it’s hard to find time to work on, rather than in your business. But imagine the positive impact on profitability if you have a clear plan and take the time to reduce inefficiencies.

During the latest round of Mindshop advisor workshops, long time Mindshop advisors and Accredited Mindshop Facilitator Plus’ (AMSF+) Russell Cummings (AUS), Jason Langford-Brown (UK) and Matt Heemstra (US) along with Mindshop’s Managing Director James Mason stepped attendees through four key areas to doubling the profitability of their advisory business in workshops across the globe. They focused on:

  1. Addressing the five advisory wastes
  2. Harnessing the power of an income matrix
  3. Overcoming fear as an advisor
  4. Demonstrating capability with cut-through presentations to target clients

We didn’t want you to miss out, so we’ve summarised the key insights from the workshops for you to apply in your business.

Before you start reading, you may like to download a complimentary income matrix to map the advisory services mix needed to achieve your budgeted revenue targets, comprising the number of services to be sold, their price, and your targeted clients.

  1. Addressing the five advisory wastes

Attendees were urged to watch for hidden inefficiencies in their advisory business, avoiding putting more work through an incapable system. Here are five key culprits identified in the workshops to watch for:

  1. Over-engineering
    • Spending too much time getting everything perfect
    • ‘Gold plating’ every service
    • Getting a move on and accepting that 80% is good enough (as long as it’s accurate), instead, focus on other things like getting that next client
  2. Over-preparing
    • creating a bespoke solution for every new client
    • spending hours creating irrelevant content based on preconceived ideas about a clients’ needs before asking them
    • wasting two hours prepping for an hour-long session
  3. Poor leverage
    • allocating the wrong people to the wrong tasks
    • not using existing clients for referrals to generate high quality leads without high cost marketing campaigns
    • poor use of technology tools such as Skype and Zoom to avoid face to face meetings
  4. Under-pricing
    • if you lack confidence in your capabilities you may be selling yourself short in proposals
    • don’t over-service small clients
    • avoid scope creep
  5. Missed opportunities
    • feeling you don’t have the time or capacity to take on a project
    • If you’re in a professional service firm, make sure all your colleagues understand the advisory offering and are listening carefully for referral opportunities
    • Make your offering clear on your website

What are the three key areas of advisory waste you need to address in the coming months?

  1. Harnessing the power of an income matrix

Another key to improving efficiency and therefore profit discussed at the workshops was using an income matrix to create a clear picture of exactly how to achieve business advisory revenue (and profit) targets. Don’t waste time on marketing and sales activities that are not going to help you achieve goals outlined in your income matrix.

Workshop attendees were stepped through how to use an income matrix, which shows in detail how many of each service you need to sell and to whom to achieve revenue goals. Use your income matrix to drive marketing, pricing and sales, highlighting how to fill revenue gaps. Use the income matrix to make the most efficient use of your time, for example, winning one ‘big ticket’ item such as a strategic planning session will take less time to close and manage than multiple, low value business health checks.

Here’s an example of how you might use an income matrix.

If you haven’t done so already, here’s a blank one you can download and use on your own advisory business.


Attendees were urged to think about ‘lead in’ products – clients often want to test an advisor’s capabilities. Make it easy for clients to engage with you, opening the door for larger projects or retainer agreements.

Where are the gaps in your income matrix that need to be addressed in the upcoming year?

  1. Overcoming fear as an advisor

Many barriers to profit and efficiency were discussed in the workshops including scope creep, not saying ‘no’ and over-delivery. But fear was identified as one of the key factors that holds advisors back from achieving their objectives.

Typical fears for advisors were identified as:

  • Looking inadequate in front of peers
  • Not having all the answers
  • The fear of being successful and its impact on life balance
  • The distraction of advisory on other revenue streams
  • Clients leaving because you’ve done a poor job

What fears are holding you back? Rather than focusing on the negative impact of action, flip it to look at the cost of inaction.

What will be the impact emotionally and financially be to yourself and others close to you if you do not act?

4. Demonstrating capability with cut-through presentations to target clients

In the workshops, James Mason spoke about effective ways of generating advisory leads by directly demonstrating capability to targeted prospects identified in your income matrix. One way of doing this is presenting at conferences or delivering webinars to centres of influence, associations or alliance partners.

James spoke about a checklist for creating a cut-through presentation, aligning value to the audience with gaps in an advisor’s income matrix, avoiding working hard for little gain. Here are his tips:

  1. Identify the biggest gap in your income matrix
  2. Who is your target market in this gap?
  3. What is the theme and context for your presentation based on the key challenges of this audience, so you are delivering value?
  4. Be genuine, speak from experience, with real-life examples and stand out from the crowd by taking a contrarian stance
  5. Aim to deliver 2-3 times more speaking engagements than you are doing already to build your capability and confidence

Where is an opportunity for you to speak in the coming months and on what topics will you speak?

In summary, take some time out to work on, rather than in your business using these four tips and reap the rewards of improved profitability and efficiency in your advisory business.

If you have any questions about the content of this latest advisor workshop or would like to learn more about Mindshop support contact your local regional manager.

Best of luck.

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