You know those icons in the background of your iPhone that are always “on” across the top of the screen? They are called status icons and symbols and they tell us various things about our phones that are useful to its operation. So with a little poetic license, allow me to apply these to you and your financial advisory business:
How is your energy level? We are at our best when we are well rested, eating well and getting enough exercise. When our phone battery is draining, we know we need to get to a charger ASAP since so many daily functions rely on the info being accessible in an instant in our hands. While we don’t have an icon for our bodies and minds, there are some tell tale signs of fatigue. Schedule in time off with no business reading or work just like you do your client and team meetings.
Which brings me to this one – your battery is being recharged. We’ve all used the phrase, but in Strategic Coach, we use the Entrepreneurial Time System of Free, Focus and Buffer Days. The idea is that instead of working to exhaustion and then taking a day off to restore yourself, you schedule your Free Days in advance and then build the other days around those. That way, you are rejuvenated when you tackle the busyness of Focus and Buffer Days and you can see the next Free Day coming on the calendar. This approach keeps your battery from running all the way down.
Are you connected? In the phone world, this shows that you are connected to a WiFi network. But let’s just take out the WiFi and ask, are you connected to a network? In the investment and business world, “time is money”, but in our practices “relationships = money”. It’s not just THAT you are connected, but at what level you are connected. If this signal is strong in your practice, you are a better resource for your clients and more useful to them by connecting them to your professional network and vice versa.
This little beauty represents the strength of your signal to make and receive calls. We all refer to how many “bars” we have from time to time. For your practice, consider this the measure of your marketing or business development plan. Are you signaling outwardly that you are taking on new clients and that you have capacity to inbound referrals from your top clients and centers of influence? This also looks a lot like a chart of your desired growth in AUM and revenue over time in your practice. Your marketing signal can certainly move those needles as well.
Where are you going and where are you right now? This directional icon suggests that “location services” are on, but for us, let’s use it as an analogy for the direction of our practice. It’s common to drift forward without thinking very much, but the most satisfying practices are going somewhere on purpose, with intention. Without this icon, it is difficult to build and keep a team, because they will always want to know to where you are steering the ship so they can know how to help you or opt out if it's not a fit for them.
If you haven’t used this one, perhaps you should rethink that one. This one is “Do Not Disturb” and it appears when that setting is on. I have a sign on my door that says “FOCUS: No Interruptions” in big, bold, black letters. It allows me protected time to think, write, and work uninterrupted so that I can focus on the task at hand versus having to start and stop and start again. Having a team that knows and respects your focus time is a key to accelerating progress.
Last but not least, there is airplane mode. You know, the one you are SUPPOSED to use on an airplane but only three people on the flight actually do? I’m using this as an analogy for getting out there and seeing the people, which refer to commonly as STP in our practice. Yes it shuts off the calls, texts, and Bluetooth access to your phone while on, and that is a great thing to have happen when you are face to face with “the people”. Especially given the events of the past couple of years, now more than ever, people are craving connection in a way that Zoom and other digital platforms just can’t provide.
Now I only speak iPhone, so if you have a different phone, you will just have to translate as needed. But I think you will find something similar for sure.
The next time you pick up your phone, think about doing a quick gut check on these icons for your business as well. Ask yourself, “What’s my status?” Keeping tabs on all these important areas, at a minimum, will help you continue to strive toward higher heights!